Saturday, February 28, 2015

'The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescene' Adventure By Venger Satanis for Your Old School Campaigns

If your a reader of this blog, then by all means you know how much I love the gonzo. Well I went after and pestered the hell out of Venger Satanis for a review copy of  the infamous 'The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescene'. And this isn't one for the kids, the Pat Robertson Crowd, or the easily offended. If you're still reading this then let's move on and go right into the breakdown of this adventure. First of all this is a straight up unapologetic OSR module for any edition of the world's most popular fantasy role playing game or any of its retroclones.
Hell you can use this module with other old school post apocalyptic rpg's such as Mutant Future or Mutant Epoch.

Grab It Right Over

Let's get right down to it, with the cover art. That behind has been bothering me for months! Where on Earth have I seen that behind? And then it suddenly came to me.
That behind belongs to one of the Taarna fighters whose landed on the time haunted isle. But my feeling is that this Venger's homage and love letter to the Heavy Metal movie from 1981. And that's really one of the things  that this module is all about. I suspect that the author Venger Satanis is about right around the same age as I. Which means he grew up with all of the same nerd and pop culture influences.

This is a huge hex crawl that takes place on a set of islands lost to the dimensional winds that's haunted by a malevolent ever present purple cloud monster and the black sand beaches of this mini campaign. Venger has infused this place not as simply an adventure which it is but an entire mini hex crawl campaign. 'The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescene' has charts and lots of them for every sort of  background and encounter that links back to the islands. This is the sort of adventure that could take years and years to play, there are alien races,crashed space craft, high weirdness, random mutation, and much more. This is done with the sort of stylish humor and old school weirdness that we've come to expect.
There are really two parts to the module, one is a straight up balls to the walls hex crawl of incredible potency, and the other part is an OSR tool kit that brings forth the Satanis formula of PC infusion with purple laced madness. There's a new PC class called the monk and more. The artwork is fantastic for a gonzo module but that's because that's exactly what it is but don't let it fool you. This is a slight of hand trick on the author/designer's part,he's created a gonzo module but with some really nice even quality that emulates products that never existed.
There are over forty pages of house rules, tweaks for connecting PC's to the Islands to sword personality roll charts, and much,much, more. Note that the maps are really nice and completely fit the tone of the adventure.

I've been a huge fan of  Faustie and Zarono  for years now and they're used to complete effect in this adventure. Every square inch of   tentacle  rending artwork is simply perfect for setting the tone of this adventure. This is an island out to play merry havoc with the PC's. And there are a ton of backhanded and well done pop-culture references and more.This entire set of islands is like having your campaign in the  second Fallout video game on the special encounters mode. There are going to all kinds of weird and deadly encounters cropping up again and again. Some beneficial and some deadly.
And this set of islands is out to get your characters,in fact the islands reward your PC's for putting their needs first. There's plenty of NPC's that will push your PC's to their limits and beyond.
One thing about this adventure is the author's tone and writing,he never talks down to his audience and goes into the history,setting, and many options. This was done on purpose and Venger set out to do exactly this right from the get go on his Kickstarter Video.
Which lays down some of Venger's ethos that went into this hex crawl, you get a sense of what he was going for. 

  This is a hex crawl that your never know what is going to come up in the next hex,and this fits exactly where this module's strength is. 'The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence' can be used as an entire mini campaign. There are dimensional gates being opened all the time by sorcerers,mad scientists, and a ton of other NPC factions across the islands.
There are a ton of weird locations,mini dungeons,downed space craft, dimensional gateways, and much more. Used correctly and this adventure could be used as a side campaign for a very long time to come.

How To Use The 'The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence 
For Your Old School Campaign 
  So you buy this adventure but what the hell are you going to run it with? Well any of the original AD&D or OD&D systems could be used for running  'The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescene' adventure. There are a few options that spring to mind immediately. One is Mutant Future or Mutant Epoch because of some of the post apocalyptic themes on some of the hexes. If your group of players has been up to their necks in Lamentations of The Flame Princess's Carcosa and you want to switch them up to a mini side campaign then this is the one. Hell you could easily gate the party back and forth between Carcosa and this adventure. If you need new PC's for Carcosa, Islands presents a viable option for the inclusion of fresh blood. Because Lamentations of the Flame Princess presents a solid working system, it could well work with the next set of old school options. 

 The second set of options that sprung to mind is the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea. Which contains a system that will not only handle this mini hex-tastic campaign adventure but give the DM all kinds of options for PC's and be able to handle the science fantasy goodness the predominates the setting. The other option that I might be doing is the Fantastic Heroes and Witchery rpg system. This system presents a boat load of PC classes and handles many of the elements and setting details that makes 'The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescene' unique, interesting and decidedly fantastic. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves this style of old school play. In closing the only thing that I'd love to have is a physical copy of this module. Because of the nature of the encounters,hexes,and elements of 'The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescene' a physical copy is a must. The artwork alone makes an excellent reference for players 


  1. I appreciate the review, hoss. Thanks!

  2. Oh your welcome Venger, my pleasure and thanks for the gaming goodness. My players might not thank you though.;-)


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