Tuesday 6 February 2018

Peril on the Purple Planet

DCC #84: Peril on the Purple Planet is a 4th level adventure written by Harley Stroh. Art is by Doug Kovacs (including cover and cartography) and Stefan Poag. The publisher is Goodman Games.

DCC #84: Peril on the Purple Planet was published as a boxed set containing several other booklets and materials that could be used to bring the Purple Planet setting alive. These include:

#84A: Lost Tombs of the Ancients: More Purple Planet Adventures (Writers: Daniel J. Bishop, Tim Callahan, Edgar D. Johnson III, and Terry Olson. Art and cartography by Doug Kovacs.)

#84B: Purple Planet Companion: A Purple Planet Sourcebook (Writers: Daniel J. Bishop, Tim Callahan, Edgar Johnson, Terry Olson, and Harley Stroh. Art by Doug Kovacs [including cover], William McAusland, and Stefan Poag.)

#84C: Escape from the Purple Planet: A Level 0 Adventure (Writer: Harley Stroh. Art by Doug Kovacs [cover and cartography] and Michael Wilson.)

The Kith Critical Hit Chart

Peril on the Purple Planet Player's Guide

Purple Planet Book of Handouts

Purple Planet Judge Screen

In addition, “Author’s edition” boxed set came with a section of the Glossography of Ythoth, by Harley Stroh. You can read a discussion of it here on the Goodman Games forums.

Disclosure: I am the Daniel J. Bishop that wrote for #84A: Lost Tombs of the Ancients and #84B: Purple Planet Companion: A Purple Planet Sourcebook.

This adventure, and its additional contents, was the result of a very successful Kickstarter campaign. Author Harley Stroh discussed the campaign on Spellburn, which you can listen to here.

At the time of this writing, the Purple Planet is Goodman Games' best supported setting for Dungeon Crawl Classics. It has spawned three sequel adventures (The Rock Awakens, Synthetic Swordsmen of the Purple Planet, and Sky Masters of the Purple Planet) and has been linked to other adventures, such as Neon Knights. Given the amount of material in the box, and the level of support Goodman Games (and others) have given the setting, it should be no surprise that this will be a long listing.

In order to make the material more accessible, I am going to discuss each piece separately, below.

DCC #84: Peril on the Purple Planet

"In Peril on the Purple Planet, the characters are cast across the cosmos to a foreign world. Left to die beneath a weirdling sun, the PCs’ survival depends as much upon their quick wit as a quick blade, as even the finest chain hauberk must fail beneath the crush of an alien horde."

This is an epic adventure reminiscent of the Barsoom novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs, or any of the many imitators they spawned (including work by Robert E. Howard, Leigh Brackett, and Michael Moorcock!). PCs have to survive the conditions of their arrival, learn how to live upon a harsh world, and then find their way home...or attempt to master the Purple Planet itself!

The base adventure is part hexcrawl, part quest, and all learning how to survive. Harley Stroh came up with some incredible locations. Area C makes me wonder whether or not he is a Doctor Who fan. Like Gamma World before it, and Mutant Crawl Classics after, the adventure also deals with strange new devices, and PCs figuring out how to use them!

#84A: Lost Tombs of the Ancients: More Purple Planet Adventures

There are already suggestions in the basic adventure for creating ancient cairns and tombs on the Purple Planet (see pages 19-21). If you are going to run Peril on the Purple Planet in a campaign, though, or spend longer than a single adventure there, more is better. This booklet provides for this.

The adventures are:
  • The Tomb of Sotark the Destroyer: Awaken a sleeping bioweapon, and perhaps regret it. By Daniel J. Bishop. Notes: Sotark is named for Leigh Brackett's Eric John Stark, and the artifacts you may win are based on a well-known figure whose name is an anagram for Vance.
  • The Tomb of the Immortal Kahl: Speaking of John Eric Stark, this adventure shares some thematic ties with The Secret of Sinharat. Only the Immortal Kahl isn't Kynon, and this is no charade. By Terry Olson.
  • The Tomb of Dust: Solve a series of encounters to uncover a lost archive. This adventure can test the players as well as the characters, depending upon how you run the final test. By Edgar Johnson III.
  • The Bunker: Find a way to traverse two hexes while travelling underground. Notes are provided for creating other ancient Kith bunkers. By Daniel J. Bishop.
  • The Tomb of the Organon Magisteros: Explore an ancient air skiff platform, now overrun by insect-men. Discover an unexpected being trapped at its core. By Tim Callahan.

#84B: Purple Planet Companion: A Purple Planet Sourcebook

This supplement was written by Daniel J. Bishop, Tim Callahan, Edgar Johnson, Terry Olson, and Harley Stroh. Art is by Doug Kovacs (including cover), William McAusland, and Stefan Poag.

Within you will find:
  • Mysteries of the Purple Planet: Seventy-four mysteries to be used "as random encounters, encounter seeds, or the start of a new adventure."
  • The Ecology of the Kith: Everything you wanted to know about the kith but were afraid to ask.
  • Kith as Player Characters: Full race-class, including a d24 Occupations table.
  • Additional Kith Resources: A Random Kith Warband Generator and Fumbles Against Kith Hordes (because when you fumble facing a Kith horde, things are just not the same!).
  • Bestiary of the Purple Planet: Twenty-four new entries for your Purple Planet encounters.
  • Magic on the Purple Planet: Page 358 of the DCC core rulebook has a section entitled "Magic Here and Magic There". The Purple Planet doubles down on this advice...everything changes! Notes are given for all the patrons in the core rulebook, for casting spells in different geographical areas, Mercurial Magic that affects all casters, Purple Planet-specific corruption, how specific spells are changed, how clerics connection to their gods are affected, and more. The section on Techno-Magic might be particularly useful when running Crawljammer, Umerican, or Mutant Crawl Classics/Dungeon Crawl Classics crossovers.
  • The Purple Under-Planet: "The weirdling sun is a persistent obstacle on the Purple Planet’s surface, and PCs, like generations of ancient kith before them, may seek shelter deep below ground. This is the Purple Underplanet. Here lie ancient civilizations, some altered unrecognizably from their origins, others cloned to perfection. Sentient beings continental in scope vie for dominance." This section includes everything you need to create new adventures in depths beneath the Purple Planet. The less said here the better, as this should be Terra incognita to those venturing below.

#84C: Escape from the Purple Planet: A Level 0 Adventure

Written by Harley Stroh. Art by Doug Kovacs (cover and cartography) and Michael Wilson.

A 0-level adventure that allows you to start a campaign on the Purple Planet. The possibility of an all-kith party, a party from a typical DCC campaign world, or a party from our world, are considered. Appendix I: Interplanetary Heroes considers the possibility of modern heroes a bit more, but doesn't supply an occupation chart.

Possible modern, near-modern, or similar type characters might be gleaned from 50 ‘80s Teens for “Old School” Adventuring (in 50 Fantastic Functions for the D50); Beyond the Silver Scream; Black Powder, Black Magic Vol. 1 (Western); Crawling Under A Broken Moon fanzine #3 (post-Apocalyptic); Dark Seas (in The Gong Farmer's Almanac 2017 Vol 4), The Devil's Chapbook (discusses punks and vikings); Dinosaur Crawl Classics (in the Goodman Games Gen Con 2017 Program Book); Drongo: Ruins of the Witch Kingdoms; Not in Kansas Anymore (in the Goodman Games Gen Con 2016 Program Book); Null Singularity (because why not use Voidants?); Outlive, Outsmart, Outkill!; Rock God Death-Fugue (because, again, why not?); Transylvanian Adventures; Trench Crawl Classics (in  The Gong Farmer's Almanac 2017 Vol 7), or The Umerican Survival Guide (post-Apocalyptic).

The Kith Critical Hit Chart

Exactly what it says on the tin. This does not show up on the RPG Now link, but it is listed. I have sent an email to Joseph Goodman to see if it can be corrected.

Peril on the Purple Planet Player's Guide

A small booklet containing character sheets, a relic runes handout, a mostly-blank map handout, and places to keep notes on relics, mushrooms, creatures, and other things the PCs might encounter.

I am personally of two minds about this sort of thing. Blank maps (with high ground marked) and character sheets are fine. The other items - even the rune graphic - might be better to only make available as things are encountered. On the other hand, foreshadowing of some of the monster/relic images might be fun. Also, the Player's Guide might steer the PCs towards interacting with the mushrooms they encounter, which is fairly important.

Purple Planet Book of Handouts

A 12 page book containing 11 illustrations, one of which is of various kith, and another of which contains several kith standards. These, and an illustration of various relics the PCs might encounter, could be printed out (or copied) and then cut up to show the players only what they need to know. There is some duplication with the Player's Guide.

Purple Planet Judge Screen

Reproduces some charts you might want to keep handy. Having these printed out so that you can handle them as needed is actually more beneficial, in my opinion, then having them on a screen. If you have a physical copy, though, the screen can help to hide maps and notes.


In addition to the materials listed here:

  • The Gong Farmer's Almanac 2016 Vol 3 contains a big-mouthed alien who wanders the Purple Planet as the last of his kind as part of the Gazette-Fear (based on art by Doug Kovacs).
  • The Gong Farmer's Almanac 2016 Vol 4 contains The Orm Lies Down on Punjar. This is a Terry Olson adventure wherein the PCs somehow gain hold of a bottle of Purple Rhost (from Harley Stroh's Purple Planet).
  • The Goodman Games Gen Con 2015 Program Book contains Appendix F: The Ythoth Raider, an expansion of the Purple Planet Author’s Edition Glossography: This is the Ythoth Raider class by Harley Stroh, creator of the Purple Planet.
  • Neon Knights (by Brendan LaSalle) is also connected to the Purple Planet.

The Purple Planet: Where tribes of man-beasts wage an endless war beneath a dying sun. Where mighty 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.

Bereft of patron, friend or god, your survival depends on quick wits and a strong blade. Will you and your companions stand as conquerers atop this alien land? Or will you fall beneath the blast of an ink-black death rays, just another corpse left to litter the wastes of the Purple Planet?

Get It Here!

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