Peril on the Purple Planet

Peril on the Purple Planet

purple planet 1With NASA announcing astonishing news about the red planet, I thought it high time to talk about the purple planet, and the perils therein.

Maybe YOU were clued in, but despite a widely advertised Kickstarter campaign the impending release – nay, even the existence – of the purple planet completely passed me by until I swung by and read an enthusiastic review of a splendid sword-and-planet setting. I determined then and there to lay my hands on the product and learn about those perils myself.

purple planet 2My verdict? If you love sword-and-planet you need it. Even if Dungeon Crawl Classics isn’t your role-playing system of choice, you need it. Hell, you might even need if if you like sword-and-planet and don’t intend to game, because it’s just a blast. And I can highly recommend getting the boxed set. In his own review at tenfootpole, Bruce Lynch laments that it could be even cooler if there are more locations, because he read only the basic adventure. Voila, there ARE, within the set.

For once, the hype on the back cover copy delivers on all that it promises. If this sounds good to you, go ye forth and buy it: “The Purple Planet: Where Tribes of man-beasts wage an endless war beneath a dying sun. Where might death orms rule the wastes, befouled winds whistle through ancient crypts, and forests of fungi flourish in the weirdling light. Where ancient technologies offer life… or a quick death.” If that doesn’t sound interesting, I won’t bother trying to convince you to look within.

purple planet 3But if it DOES sound of interest, it delivers everything evoked in that back cover copy. Harley Stroh and his team love sword-and-planet and they give us strange and vivid settings, bizarre obstacles, and exciting situations that just scream to be visited. How about the City of Smoke, borne upon the back of thousands of sub-human slaves? Or the terrible Tomb of the Immortal Kahl, with its Hall of Husks and Chamber of Rebirth? See, even the titles are purple and evocative.

Like all good sword-and-planet heroes, the characters are accidentally transported to the Purple Planet, emerging in the midst of a battle between two armies. To find a way back home they’ve either got to recover a kind of charging stone to reactivate the gate through which they entered, or find enough shards to assemble one from scratch. In the basic book there are three ways to do that (one of which basically means climbing atop what for all intents and purposes is a sand worm!), involving crossing the savage wastes and exploring the world. The expansions in the box provide even more locations, twists, perils, and prizes.

Trust me. This is cool. It can be found here.


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DCC products are pretty wild and live up to the claims and hype of the covers. You actually start out most ‘entry level’ adventures with two or three player charactes since they will die off – so your true RPG hero is the one that goes through the grinder – neat compromise between instant permadeth and monty haul.

Now to those that don’t know, this is “Retro” gaming, a tribute to the early “Uncarved block” of the 70s RPG explosion that happened in tandem with Sword and Sorcery and Tolkien stuff in popular culture, lightly influenced by the aftershocks of the 60s. Retro games are rather non-PC and over the top in a way modern RPGs have been sanitized and modern literature mostly sterilized…

I reccomend them highly. Dungeon Crawl Classics – Laybryinth Lord – Lamentations of the Flame Princess to name a few. IMO should be inspiration to the writing field – no not to make more “RPG Novels” (well some DCC derivative works I’d like to check out!) but to ditch “Political Correctness” and focus on pulpy good fun!

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