This is a guest post from the author of The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence. If you click on that link and are not signed into DriveThruRPG you’ll hit the adult content warning. Be warned.
Venger Satanis here from Venger’s Old School Gaming Blog. Hi.
Originally, this piece was going to be called Ten Tips for Running Purple. But then I realized that I already wrote about that in the book itself. Plus, you’ll most likely run it in whatever style makes you feel most comfortable and/or awesome. What other way is there? So, really, this article contains ten utterly non-essential encounters or encounter fragments for you to stir into the hex-tastic eldritch gumbo of sci-fantasy gonzo that is The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence.
There’s already a ton of loosely related encounters waiting to be haphazardly strung together or carefully interwoven into a meaningful tableau. Whether you’re running a one-shot for your regular gaming crew, an ongoing weekly campaign, or convention game, I think there’s a wealth of sexist B-movie schlock to do with as you please. But, sometimes, more is… more. Can you have too much of a good thing? Don’t know. I’ve been eating pizza with Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing and drinking Mountain Dew every meal for a few weeks now… to the point where I can’t leave my house to search for the answer.
I wrote The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence back in good old 2014. Seems like a while ago now… So, why not a special ten-month anniversary tribute? ‘Cause if you can’t shake things up with a few random ideas that just popped into your head genetically spiced with pop-cultural pandering, then what good is it? Any of it?!? You might as well put the phone down and NOT order that pizza, for Christ’s sake.
Alright, here goes nothing…
#1 A year ago, the disciples of Zygak-Xith discovered several green pods growing in a botanical dome on Kravian. Those pods eventually sprouted into sentient vegetation. The plant creatures, Xynoids, adopted the appearance and killed the first beings they encountered – the Zygak-Xith worshipers.
Whenever the PCs encounter a disciple of Zygak-Xith, there’s only a 2 in 6 chance that he’s the genuine article, instead of a shape-changing vegetable disguised as human. What are the Xynoids’ goals? To dominate the islands themselves while feasting upon all the animal life they can absorb.
Perhaps the rail system begins inside a skull-shaped mountain. Is that car from the Dungeons & Dragons ride part of if, or is the monorail more like a scifi 70’s shuttle a la Disney World? Presumably, this transportation system has been around for decades (maybe even centuries). Who exactly built it and what happened to them? Each hex the party moves through, there’s a 1 in 6 chance of either minor damage to the rail or some kind of small malfunction.
#3 Somewhere along the way, maybe in one of those “empty” hexes, the PCs discover a little girl’s pink notebook full of stickers (unicorns, rainbows, fairy princesses, etc.) However, it also contains a skillfully drawn winged squid-like demon in purple crayon. There’s something alien and unsettling about the creature. Adventurers who know something of the Cthulhu Mythos could probably make an educated guess.
#4 The party stumbles upon a bathroom straight out of the 1980’s. The interior is adorned with wall-to-wall black marble tile and columns veined with white. The rest is violet neon-rimmed mirrors, decorative glass block walls surrounding a jetted Jacuzzi tub, and toilet with bidet. There’s a crumpled, soggy blue and orange cheerleader uniform on the floor next to the toilet. Is the plumbing connected to an inter-dimensional sewer system or is the waste simply being flushed underground?
#5 A group of three Purple worshipers have split off into their own sub-faction. They currently wear purple robes spattered with a milky white liquid (now dried). Each has had a vision – possibly given to them by the island(s) – that the Purple Putrescence is a very bad thing – it’s the ruin of men and a new golden age of civilization can’t begin until The Thing That Rots From The Sky has been vanquished.
One of them has a cunning plan. He knows a way to destroy the godlike monstrosity but can’t attain the object in question (Vibo-Tron 5,000) without the help of others.
#6 Pizza Pit! Yes, most of this pizza-serving restaurant has somehow arrived on an island. With the old Devil’s head logo and lightning bolt, Pizza Pit is ready to take your money! Within, there are booths upholstered with cracked red pleather, yellowish-grey stuffing pushing through the cracks. Within a glass case, several individual slices and full pizzas with missing slices (pepperoni, sausage, and cheese) sit under a heat lamp, orange grease pooling upon the surface.
There’s a large cardboard sign advertising Mountain Dew. Incidentally, that’s the only fountain drink that still works. Adventurers who imbibe 12 or more ounces of Mountain Dew receive a 30 minute boost in energy before crashing. Strangest of all, a half-demon (tiefling) named David works the cash register. He doesn’t seem surprised to be here or to see the adventurers. “Demon Dave” has been making pizzas all his life and knows that his pizza-making routine shall continue until he’s no longer able to toss the dough.
#7 Upon a hilltop, the party sees a ghostly pale bride wearing a lavender dress; her arms outstretched as if pleading for some kind of mercy, her face is hidden by a similar-colored veil.
Under the veil, she actually has no face… only a blank, porcelain surface devoid of humanoid features. Those attempting to interact with her eventually notice the edges of a 3” square appearing in the center of where her face should be. The square opens like a little door. Inside: nothingness; black space reaching into eternity.
The rest of her can, of course, be used as either a flotation or sexual device (she’s anatomically correct)… such fetishistic objectification could be used to heighten the effect of certain spells.
#8 Mutant Death Squad! A drow arms dealer named Asher has recently equipped the mutant humanoids of Korus with automatic weapons, lasers, and fragmentary grenades. Now, they’re a mutant death squad looking for food, shelter, magic items, high-tech gear, and all around good times… including female companionship – they’re a lonely bunch :(
#9 The adventurers see a tomb half-sunk in the mud. Bas-reliefs of sub-human creatures writhing around the mausoleum’s exterior gives the viewer an uneasy feeling. Within, a collection of miniaturized planets under glass domes. Each one has its name etched upon a brass plate. Are these real planets or movie-quality replicas? Is this the fate of Razira, too? Can these planets be restored to normal size? If so, how? Tune in next week. Actually, just make something up. I won’t be here next week.
#10 A group of humans calling themselves the Nirvana Initiates have located a unique pocket of electro-magnetic energy far below the surface of Kelis. This could be the island’s heart or what gives all three islands their je ne sais quoi. Drilling down (approximately 100’) will cause Kelis to drown in an ocean of oozing purple napalm that burns the skin and probably turns humanoids into strange, cone-like beings from Alpha Centauri.