Battle for the Purple Islands Review

Disclosure: I know Venger, we’ve exchanged a few words online, and I’ve given him a shout out here and there before. I was given a comp copy of this product in exchange for writing a review.

UPDATE: Apparently this is intended to be used with The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence, which I'm aware of but for some reason it didn't click: it contains (among other things) a full color map of the islands! Still wish there was a museum map, but at least with this the roll-as-you-go-hexcrawl stuff will be usable without making up your own island map. I also think it would also be nice to have a Purple Island Bundle, so you can get both of these at a small discount.

Battle for the Purple Islands is a 24-page adventure by Venger Satanis. It states that it's OSR compatible, but by default it's intended for Venger's Crimson Dragon Slayer role-playing game, and there's an example adventure hook for those wanting to use it with Alpha Blue, his other "sleazy sci-fi gonzo" role-playing game.

The overall plot is that a courier is attempting to deliver a holographic message to a hermit (an obvious nod to A New Hope), but he gets captured by machine-gun-toting-talking apes, escapes from them, and then gets captured by a tribe of cannibals.

Now I didn't see anything obviously pointing out that the PCs are supposed to rescue him and help him out, but I can infer it from the PC Entry Points: one has the PCs getting captured along with him by the Uba-Tuba cannibal tribe, and another has the PCs overhear some talking apes looking for him (and ideally they become interested enough to go looking for the courier themselves).

I'll get more into the assumed course of events below (mostly because I want to avoid spoilers), but before that I want to talk about the rest of the adventure.

The art for the most part makes me think "old-school" and indie. I'm sure a lot of people will enjoy it for nostalgic reasons, but from a technical standpoint I found it somewhat lacking (compared to The Outer Presence, which also had an old-school art vibe but mostly looked better). There's also a page that has a strange symbol on it: not sure if it means something or why it's there (it was also in The Outer Presence, but on two black pages instead of a white one).

I like that Venger's tables have alternate row highlights. For some reason I find a lot of indie publishers just don't do this and I have no idea why not. Speaking of tables, there's a bunch of random tables for things like names, why you came to the purple islands in the first place, customs of the various cannibal tribes, and each character's "purple destiny": while on the islands you gain advantage on all checks when doing something inline with your destiny.

On formatting, I'd have liked to have seen horizontal rules for the larger headers (something else I rarely see indie publishers do), but that's more of a nitpick.

I wish the adventure was organized better and that there were maps. I didn't know what the main point of the adventure was at first, though I was able to suss it out pretty quickly and doubt I'd forget it after reading it. I think it should have described the general cannibal tribes, talking apes, Brotherhood of the Unquiet Void, and the snake-man sorcerer first, then mention the Uba-Tuba tribe and courier in a section that clearly marks the beginning of the actual adventure.

There's a section all the way at the back with tables for a roll-as-you-go-hexcrawl: it has a hundred possible results, but without a map I have no idea what the island looks like or how big it's supposed to be. I think the museum could have also used a map (as well as more than one thing to maybe deal with while exploring it), but not nearly as badly as the rest of the island.

The adventure is as of this blog post $4, which at 24 pages (including a cover and page with a symbol on it) is a buck or two more than I'd expect to pay (especially with the lack of one or more maps), but if you like Crimson Dragon Slayer and/or Alpha Blue it's still a pretty cheap buy straight from the designer.

Okay with all that out of the way, let's talk about the plot: if you don't want to be surprised stop reading now.

Basically, the courier is trying to deliver a holographic message from H.P. Lovecraft to his 20-year-younger self (the "hermit" in the cave), convincing himself to keep writing. It also urges him to visit a museum on an island to watch a movie, that will inspire him to write his magnum opus. So you take him to the museum (which is only described as being "somewhere on the islands"), watch the short film, and determine how it affects each individual PC (there's a small table with some suggestions), and then the adventure basically ends.

Since the Uba-Tuba tribe is at the bottom of the mountain, I can do without a map showing the path from A to B (though it could have still been handy to get a sense of distance, and maybe an encounter table for the mountain). After you find Lovecraft you still need to take him to the museum; since it's just stated to be somewhere on the islands again an island map would have been incredibly useful. I'd even settle for a map as a separate PDF download (actually I'd almost prefer it that way, so I could just print the map or have it open as its own file).

You can now get a physical copy of Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book in whatever format you want!

It look a lot longer than expected, but we finally released The Jinni. As with our other monstrous classes, this one is more faithful to the mythology (so don't go in expecting elemental-themed jinn).

After putting it to a vote, the next couple of classes on the docket are the warden (think 4E D&D warden) and apothecary (gotta go see what they're all about).

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

1 comment:

  1. (As you now know via our post-review conversation) This scenario is meant to be used in conjunction with The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence campaign setting. It comes with a large full color map of the three islands.


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