Unlikely  -  THEME   

'Neoromance' was the callsign for a concept design project I concocted sometime in 2012. I had numerous brainstorming sessions with some of my friends from my childhood, with whom I've been playing Pen & Paper RPGs throughout the years. The idea was to create a novel new world unlike ever seen before. I wanted to make Neoromance into a playable game eventually, but in the end it remained just one more messy unfinished project, with very little else completed othen than concept design and some art pieces. Nevertheless, Neoromance was a very interesting project, and I hope to one day pick off again from where we left it. Neoromance is part of my World Sadness universe- in fact it is where the original idea came from.

Most of this page is just pasted content from our Google Drive, since I can't be assed to transcribe the stuff into a better form right now. Perhaps later.

 The Project

Designing a cosmology of my own was a passion of mine at the time. I was very inspired by such works of fiction like Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock, Jack Vance's Dying Earth (especially Cugel!) and Lyonesse sagas, Moebius' imaginative concept art, and Michael Kirkbride's lore writings for the Elder Scrolls franchise (of those I've played, Morrowind, Oblivion and later Skyrim), and I wanted Neoromance to be on par with these grand works.

At first I think I only had a sort of vague feeling what Neoromance would be like. It was this formless lump in my imagination which I had to express. One night, I wrote a poem which became the basis for Neoromance, which went like this:

in their reverie for the nubilca of myth
alchemists of old in vats made their own;
a faux-nubilca of mellow ether,
their only obliquity enough.

I didn't have a clue what a 'nubilca' was, what these alchemists were on about, or what sort of substance mellow ether would be, but this poem was the building block upon which I started to pile the clay my imagination pushed out. Here's how it shaped out:

DEO or INNER SHELL is the game world, encased inside the Celestial Empyrea, a circular shell onto which the sun (Myahud) and the anti-sun (Mirkhud) have been attached. The empyrea is in constant motion that creates day and mirk and thus creates the concept of calculable elapsation of time. One lapse is approx. three years, onto which thirty cycles fit into. One cycle is exactly 42 days and mirks.

The three gods, Mya Golos, Mya Magh and Mya Nubilca are the dominating divinities of Deo. Their actual essence is covered in the explanations for Omnia Octedact. Octedact cult is the largest (but not the only) religion in Deo. These three gods come from their founding chapter, the Omnia Octedact, a mysterious collection of writings, allegedly written by the original Nubilca in the primordial times.

The Nine Dynasties were an empire of Man before the Polyarchy, which now rules. The isle of Acnahav is where Catz, the city where the game is placed in. Eight demi-god alchemists comprise the polyarchy, which is held together by an uneasy alliance between these powerful individuals.

All matter in Deo is either alive or in a curious dormant state. The alchemist polyarchs have shaped Catz into a biological maze of living tissue and rootlife, and created various mutants and odd creatures to serve the needs of the citizens of Catz, who in turn are riddled with arrogance, xenophobia and self-superiority, and think of their city as the centre of the universe.

She was cultivated inside the biological vats of the Fundame, her sire alchemist. The protagonist of Neoromance; a creature of grace and inner beauty. She is somewhat of a curiosity, as she is the only nubilca (sort of living dolls which the alchemists are able to create with some difficulty) to ever achieve a concious state of existence, and is thus often welcomed well amongst the alchemists and other, lesser castes who know of her birth. Called 'the Marionette' by some, as she is thought to be the minion of the feared Fundame.

She is the player and the avatar in a dualistic form. She was created from the husk of a dead god (Mya Nubilca), lapses after her death due to the machinations of Mya Magh. She is reborn in the corpuscle vats of the polyarchic immortal demigod Fundame; one of the eight to rule Acnahav at the start of the game.

Reigning powers
The alchemist caste has assumed control of the land of Acnahav. They regard eachother with cool distain, yet always employ a vicious eloquence and a strict code of conduct. They measure their prestige in small ibin baubles that if bested in conversation or otherwise given a great gift, they must depart with. The alchemists, who are also known by the name 'Polyarchy' have a strict code to which they all adhere to.

The ideals dictate how an individual lives his/her life. A person who has not chosen an ideal is considered a social pariah in some circles. There are infinite amount of ideals, but some are the most popular (like seeker, violator, nomocrast, etc...)

Here's a list of common Ideals:

Violator (pain and suffering are the only fundamental truths of the verse)
Carnality (seek always joy and pleasure, for fulfillment is the only measure of life’s success)
Seeker (truth above all)
Artisan (expression by order of materia)
Leper (whatever works)
Plutarch (wealth is the measure of greed: the defining virtue of any man)
Gaea (with kindness and grace, for emotion is the versal truth)
Now and Then
(shatter the destined path, defy divinity)
Entropic (there are only lies)

There are 6 continents in the known world of Deo, the isle of Acnahav in the middle.

The following surveys courtesy of Fargonlo Lordoss of the Deonavigational Society of Catz
is a dry, arid continent directly west of Acnahav. The vast dust-plains of Lereina are barren and seemingly void of rootlife of any complex kind. Yet, it is believed that a select group of exiled men from Old Chuun settled here countless of lapses ago. Nowdays what remains of these olden fugitives are a variety of dark-skinned sub-men organized into primitive packs who migrate the moist fungal cave systems below the first sediments. Some myahud-worshipping nomad tribes utilize great hollow-shell cockroaches as mobile homes and roam the deprived steppes.

Chuun, the old enemy, constitutes three large continents just northeast from Vahanca, separated by narrow oceans that dry almost completely during the Trell-cycle and at such times provide arthropod nourishment that the chuunian sub-men preserve for the extremely windy winter months. The climate is temperate and vegetative rootlife ample and largely sedate. Chuun has several major cities and settlements made of terkhite and filament where available, and trade with these citystates has long been rich between them and Catz. Chuun is a shattered power, riddled with conspiracy leagues and rogue states, though the largest fortress cities are ruled by a single dictator.

Sumat is an elongated mountaineous island beyond Chuun in the unknown placid-glass oceans, known for it’s sharp cickle-shape. It’s climate is harsh, and so are it’s peoples: slaver warbands run rampant in Sumat, and the isle is ruled by whomever manages to stay alive in the constant power struggle that has lasted for seventeen consequtive lapses. The natives are quick to anger, and the only civilized place on the isle is Port Berecht, established and maintained by chuunish predoctates and a sovereign governor.

The continent of Rurkh is located in the far northern seas, where myahud rarely touches Deo. These lands are formed of rigid sediment and frozen speckles, and rare and peculiar are the rootlifeforms present. Settlements of proto-aquilan sub-men, huge of stature and mild of manner practice fishing and primitive agriculture to sustain their miserable existence amidst vegetative rootlife of conical shapes. Sumata warriors often raid the shores of Rurkh in search of easy slaves, food and the few riches rurkhian Ogors and Meopers have managed to acquire.

Odessa in the southern reaches of the known seas was discovered by daring catzian pioneers some twenty lapses ago. An outpost was founded, which later grew into a fortified city called Odessia. Gnosists have derived that the rootlife of the isolated Odessa has long since achieved a dangerous predatory equilibrium: indigenous beasts and monsters hunt and consume eachother in a constant struggle for life, and the invading Men of Odessia are hard pressed not to become the prey. The fabled Walls of Slaughter surround Odessa City, and it’s Dashi-guard protect the citizens from harm. Precious sediment can be dug and motes of exotic nature salvaged from the deo of Odessa, so Men remain and little by little push back the primal opposition.

The isle of Acnahav is the populous continent of the Polyarchean civilization, and home to the great Nine Dynasties of mythic lapses. Its rootlife is the most complex known, and it’s true men rule the known worlds. Acnahav is a varied landscape, with steep-hilled roil-forests, swale canals and jagged shoreline sediments. It’s gas-deposits are plenty and the numerous mines stretch deep into the ancient root sediments.

Adventurous globetrotters speak of other continents, even advanced undiscovered civilizations beyond the known lands, but the existence of such regions is yet to be realized by the esteemed Deonavigational Society of Catz. "

More about the cities of Acnahav later...

 Into a game

So I had a somewhat fascinating world of substance with strange and exotic sceneries, but I wanted to go a bit further and started to formulate a scenario in this world which could translate into a playable game. I imagined the game to be a dialogue-heavy intrigue-filled adventure situated in an urban, decadent and peculariarly weird city of Catz.

Realism and pessimistic thinking always fails to contain my enthusiasm and ambition in projects such as this, so the premise swole into something totally ludicrous (like it wasn't that before, yeah right...). I had in my mind the thought to cut this game into various chapters.

Chapter I serves to familiarize the player into his/her surroundings as the Nubilca-creature, weak and frail, yet beautiful and cunning. It starts from a sequence where Nubilca and her master, father and creator, Fundame, arrive to the annual celebration event of the polyarchs into the Dynastic Palace, held every ten lapses. Fundame is an ancient shell of a man, at least two hundred lapses old, and for much of his life he has sought to create artificial life. Alas, he makes the spark of life! And thus Nubilca with higher cognitive abilities is born; nobody is exactly sure how, but many are eager to meet this supposed goddess reincarnate, not the last of all D’Myad, a rival polyarch to Fundame, who has long attempted the same feat. There is much that Fundame does not reveal to his “daughter”, but he is glad to present his ultimate price to the nobility and polyarch alike.

The Chapter is one of relative innocence, where little pressure is put on the player, but rather Fundame urges his Nubilca to get acquinted with the guests. It should present such themes as splendor, artifice and condescension; the guests of the palace should be almost intolerable and impossible in their hubris.

Counting of ibin baubles (which are extremely rare artefacts) is an artificial system contrived to preserve the equality of power between the polyarchic lords. As custom dictates, the polyarchs have a rule: they may make one formal attempt prior to the coronation to relieve their colleagues of their ibin baubles. This will create a power-struggle that will preserve the equilibrium. According to Fundame, this custom is largely a symbolical one, as very rarely the alchemists manage to snatch ibin baubles from each other (at least what records indicate, though greater logic suggests that such events would not be heralded nor registered to history scrolls), but nevertheless Fundame enlists (as the first incentive for the player) Nubilca to employ her most effective wiles to gain ibin baubles from the peers of his, so as to assume her role as a spy and intriguist and abuse her status as an object of curiosity. What number of ibin baubles Nubilca manages to procure makes little difference, as the true motive of Fundame and the other polyarchs is revealed in the next morning.

Once dawn comes, after a hasty breaking of fast, Nubilca is summoned to be inspected by the gathered alchemists, and bid to answer generic questions about herself. The player may choose what manner of impression she will give the demigods in public, but in time they reveal they are very aware of her actions in the mirk prior: the alchemist lords are very interested in the true essence of Nubilca, who in their view is an alien intelligence from some other dimension; how consciousness can be birthed from nothing puzzles them, and an argument is brought about: should Nubilca be terminated immidiately. Some are for and some are against, Fundame’s little task for Nubilca and her way of approaching each polyarch to gain their ibin bauble serving as examples of her nature.

Whatever the polyarchs decide is irrelevant, as she is, in essence, saved by the bell: an invasion of the old enemy, Chuun, begins and warning bells start to ring with alacrity. Nubilca may choose to stay in the palace in the resulting havoc, in which case she will be taken into custody by the Chuunish prince, Drakkhen, a guest of the party, who has orchestrated the coup. Some polyarchs reveal themselves to having been allied with this prince (Tezsir, Nazijoru, Mechanus), while some are slain (Martyr, Fundame, Mu), and a few make their escape (Arc-Ran, D’Myad). Nubilca may choose to accompany D’Myad to escape the palace as well, which will result in a different kind of event after the chapter.

The chapter ends with a little speech from Drakkhen to Nubilca, regarding her as “spoils of war”, or if Nubilca escapes, to the realization that she is to be imprisoned by the enigmatic D’Myad, for whatever his plans for Catz may be, for his personal reasons he needs to learn the secret of sparking true life, whether by physically dissecting or by mentally breaking down his captive Nubilca.

Various adventures wait for Nubilca after this point, but two paths are apparent: to either stay with prince Drakkhen, or to accompany D’Myad in his secret lair in the bowels of the Catz veinworks. In any case, an escape is possible, but there are other ways to cope as well...

So we pondered about trying to make this into a demo of some sort to secure funding and to breathe life into the project, but ultimately my friend who is a scripter said that making the engine would be too much of a hassle. Nowdays when I've created a few games I can attest to that - it's a huge undertaking to make the simplest of games, let alone an ambitious one like Neoromance.

I did make some concepts of interfaces, character animations, maps and the like. Like always, I wanted the game to be in isometric perspective (because I'm 100% corrupted by Black Isle games like Baldur's Gate and Placescape: Torment).

In the end, the project didn't materialize, but who knows, maybe I'll pick it again in the distant future. When I now look at the material, it all seems a bit stretched. There's ample room for cuts and alterations with a wiser mind, since some of the content is outright idiotic or weird for the sake of weird (which is a nono).

 Completed works

I made several artworks for the project, many of which are featured in my gallery, but I'll list all of the publishable art I made for Neoromance here (except those already on this page). Click on the thumbnail to view full art.

Though she had many forms, this is how the Faux-Nubilca was supposed to look like. She was also to have a talking horse, who is extremely rude and uncouth.
Prince Drakkhen
Prince Drakkhen, son of Audric and the heir to the throne of Chuun seeks to overthrow the Polyarchy and eventually invade the wealthy island of Acnahav, in particular the wonder city of Catz.
Century Genodyne
She is the prize possession of D'myad, a sylph unlike others, for she is rather intelligent, though as she is an artificial being, many suspect she has no soul. She spends her time in the tower nypharium of D'myad.
One of the Polyarch Lords, Arc-Ran has abandoned his thaumaturgic studies and instead embraced the Ideal of Now and Then. He is followed everywhere by a retinue of loyal preciteran warriors of logic.
The City of Catz
Catz is the capitol of Acnahav, a city destined by prophecy to one day be drowned by the Lesmatic Sea. Many have fled, but the patrician caste largely remain in their high spire tower homes having drug-induced dreams.
Alitaruda Mundi
In the past, one of the first feats of the Polyarchic Alchemists was to summon the unified rootlife to lay asunder the invading fleets of King Audric of Chuun.
Lost Desert
The desertscape of Lereina, a continent to the west of Acnahav.

See the literacy-section for short 'books' I wrote on the Neoromance world.
In case you're wondering, I use some of the ideas found on this page in my Princess Rhialti -story.

 Random idea heap

NOTE: This is a dump of some of the shit I did not have time to revise; think of it as an unflushed toilet of innovation. Many of these are just random ramblings when writing in a flowing state of thought. Peruse at your peril / leisure. I picked just a few pages, but there's a lot of this stuff in the documents.

- Pyritohedron, the impossible shape artefact. A reminder that Deo is an immaterial plane of existence consisting only of imagination-stuff.
- Sematrope
- Pyrologist (keeper of the floating flames)
- Mid Nodus; the plaque in violation
- Cost of the D'Myad Lifeblood (the immortality formula) is something like 300 000 sequins, or one ibin bauble, where one sequin is what a worker earns during three cycles of drudge.
- Thermo-nuclear weapon (a bomb in the museum decorated by goddess-sculptures; unknown purpose)

- Metagenic weapon seeds (that rapidly mutate all rootlife around them)
- Gas-taps provide floating fires that rotate shale turbines.
- Poisons and toxins of many flavors and potencies.
- Core water (???)
- The Sky Eye Orrery (in the topmost levels of Royal Dynastic Palace, a view of the celestial firmament opens up through the lens)
- Recyclotron (all corpses go here for preparation. Maybe charred for thermal energy?)
- Recording flower-creatures: Genetically bred things that gather light into their eye, and are able to recall images
- Floral vampires

What the hell are ibin baubles anyway?
- Condensed rootlife
- Source of power
- Motes of First rootlife
- Addictive substances
- Beings that actually control the alchemists in some way...
- Parcels of OUTER SHELL, as in objects of the actual reality and thus known as pieces of Mya Golos
- Impossible shapes, providing information about the un-reality (but why would they compete and want them after research....????)
- Advanced Alchemy Substance
- The Brain synapses of the Collective Rootlife (by fondling them you get effects on rootlife)

- A crime is weighed on the premise that upon committing such an unlawful act, the person in question states that he or she would be willing to do so again at any given time and place, if no manner of repercussion would present itself. Upon this speculation, it is safe to impose the utmost retribution for such a villain.
- Leniency is not the right of the State to be granted, as it trudges on the rights of the victim of the infraction. Only the victim of the crime can bestow leniency. Thus, a perpetrator is at the mercy of the victim and roles are reversed.
- Death is a taboo! Death of a Catzian very rare? Murder almost unthought of. Mementoes? Monuments of the dead; corpses not objects of terror.

- How Fundame managed to spark consciousness into his Marionette, when D’Myad and others have failed, their marionettes little more than empty husks? The intro-video should be a clue to this, where the voice of Fundame bids the otherworldly player to enter the cognition of his creation. This is masked as a simple intro-video, nothing else, but in actuality is the portal to the INNER SHELL. So the intro-video should be written in the form of a plead to gaze into the realm of Deo, spoken by Fundame himself.
- Hidden: Mighty is the artist, for his stamp of impression is to outlast all of days. Those passions well read he, forever etched into these lifeless hulks. To immortalize these fates of ill fortune, so they may never be visited upon anyone again, until the world freezes over.
- The death of the author: “I” am already dead; to contact the creator, who is naught but projection of hopes and past moments? Is this what I meant? I cannot say, for whatever I say is just another text to be interpreted like the text in question, likewise riddled with the hypothetical falsehood and altering of opinion. In essence what I am now is not what I was when the creation happened. To give a text an author is to end it, to limit it to equal my imagination. The legacy of mine, still alive, despite my death: the secrets within fictive simulation - A connection to a moment.
- Words = infectious; Ideals: undefeatable. Only through ignorance can these be won. Once it has surfaced, it cannot be destroyed. Fatal ideas, like basilisks?
- Text = no single theological meaning, but a multi-dimensional space in which a number of ideas clash.
- The Godlike Narrator, the only present spirit of intellect: what is the scope of authority he holds sway over truth?
- The Shattering Doubt: in the ending, there could be a sequence that demonstrates the potency of a real conciousness inside INNER SHELL. The game could end with a single expression of doubt by nubilca: and I do mean END, like the program just terminates immidiately and deletes itself?

Races in Chuun:
Gaul (submen; mountainfolk; slaves, tribals)
Haidion (deadland-romans, bone-warriors; the remnants of the last Empire)
Coma (ancient greece, secularists, seer maidens, especially religious in octedactism)
Pontupolis (mercantile city, with a culture of its own; a melting pot; regent controlled by polyarchy)
Pler-erm (farmers and miners; the bulk workforce; regular subjugated people)

Daicinet, Malaika, Dabria, Ramona, Haimi, Dymphna, Veleda, Alecto, Atropos, Lecheris, Parca, Urania, Veleshka, Della, Edlyn, Nabila, Madijah, Nolissa, Palla, Cader, Asiza, Magan, Rya, Hale, Lexine, Verena, Sindrine, Polona, Corintha, Nagmah, Nazmie, Edovenit, Coon, Senos, Denubah, Vahtis, Audric, Cester, Odun, Raynoor, Chimal, Dainocz, Vorumna, Nirene, Docles, Krasis, Llissome

Sul-kin (lost men):
Nasirbal, Narambal, Natni Eil, Sard Eil, Sorme, Sahdina, Raboona, Shar Eil, Shnina, Shaybo, Zda Eil, Khammo, Bineil, Baryoom, Bardisan, Bailda, Ashur, Eliya, Akhiban, Arbelloa, Ajdina, Ador Eil, Adoor Dalasar, Aulada, Ador Ajdina, Bibilus, Hanihurseen

Sul-kin (demon):
Ku-Baba, Nidinta, Appan-Il, Arishaka, Ikusu, Attikusu, Baassia, Balathu, Burshiah, Dudua, Enussat, Labashi, Nunumnia, Seluku, Ibbi-Aya, Iziratum, Theresu, Kratee, Deeqiteezu, Ishme-Ea,

- Theistic Astralism: sun worship
- Petri-ism: Our bodies are vessels for bacteria, viruses, parasites, thoughts, emotions, and must be nutured and care for and colonized.

- Panzoist (Belief that the entire universe is a living thing, or is suffused with life.)
- Phenakism

- The subconcious fear of death resulting from an innate knowledge of the painful afterlife.
- Entropic at 100: you may will a person out of existence.
- Pansogma: the religion of VOID and Mya Magh: the dark sun: few know of it, but the fall of the Dynasties and the Dreug were actually caused by the Pansogma and it’s emergence. Defeated by the polyarchy, who concealed the man (for they could not kill him for some reason) in the deepest bowels of the rarely-visited Dynastic Palace, the then polyarchy cleaned all information of the true entropic messiah, who was in their minds Mya Magh reincarnate.
- Earlier Nubilca has left a manifestation of herself in Deo that the player can meet.
- Demons: Manifold false sights bearing emptiness, discord and the disharmonious oscillations chosen to orbit a center which is not present, the predatory rivals of existence against existence, fashioning reality in the reflection of their imperfection, fleeing and consuming with no essence to be filled, those torn away from a real focal point and into theinfinite approach of an unreachable void .
- The world only exists as it is perceived by some omnipotent god thing. Sort of like a bastardized deist version of bundle theory. Arcane magic is the art of blinding the omnipotent god thing's "senses" (as much as a divine imagination can have senses or sense analogs) across a particular space and time. You get things randomly losing fidelity, changing shape or material or just flat out being deleted.

- Delicious food that's made of sentient beings. Nubilca can stop their production, resulting in famine of Catz.
- Archeological dig, where rootlife of various forms are excavated for.
- Inhaled the infernal vapours from the rent which the chasm effected and perished.
- Maidens preserved for their beauty to never disappear (some craze!)
- Western deserts are roamed by immense, ancient leviathans floating in the air - The People have tamed one.

- Meteor pit of ancient origin has devastated a former city of a lost empire. Horrible creatures, mutated by the unholy essence (radiation) roam the countryside near the immense crater.
- A childhood infatuation is met again, but he/she does not live up to expectations, having fattened and worsened in looks and manner, due to inferior upbringing; could be even diseased (butterfly effect).
- I meet Pai, a traveller from the far city of Hant, who is a strange face so remote. She is old as parchment, and with a croak questions where I have hidden the Rhazdian Baths, said to bestow strange vitality. I may have lied, I may have told the truth: that I am unsure; she returns with fury and resentment - her envy for youth has the best of her.

- Later on, she realizes that in her wordly ways, she grew up to be an "adult" in the sense that she saw most other adults behaving - childish, vindicative and immature. In spirit, she would have been better off never growing up.

(c) Heikki Kuusipalo 2017 - return to