Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #6 & 7)

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Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #6 & 7)

Post by Havard »

I've been reading up on the pre-Red Steel Savage Coast material lately. Merle and Jackie Rasmussen created a considerable body of ideas for this region between X9 and ToPS!

Their style of writing can be a little frustrating to read, since these modules appear to have almost no plot and many of the most interesting details are hidden in between location descriptions, many of which seem to be little more than random encounters.

OTOH, I think there is much more hidden under the surface of these modules. Without spelling it out too clearly, we get hints of political intrigues, history and a sense of a setting that is widely different from that of the Known World.

One interesting part of this module is the more detailed exploration of the Neutral, Lawful and Chaotic alliances, driven by the Brotherhoods with the same names, but also involving Tortles, Rakastas, Lupins and various human groups as well as the Aranea.

I'm curious to what others may think of this module? I'm guessing quite a few of you have access to these now...

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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #3 & 4)

Post by Seer of Yhog »

I'll have to sit down and read it, but a quick skim shows it has potential. What you say about Rasmussen's writing is interesting, now I'll have to pull out some of his other works.

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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #3 & 4)

Post by Hugin »

I haven't really sat down and read this module either. I've wanted to many times but it just doesn't seem to happen.

Stupid space-time continuum.

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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #3 & 4)

Post by Thorf »

Don't you mean Dungeon 6 and 7? I bought them from ebay last year for the maps, but I haven't gotten round to reading them yet.

I must say, I find modules to be pretty hard reads a lot of the time - especially the older ones which as you say seem to be entirely lacking in plot. :(

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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #3 & 4)

Post by multizar »

Well, I for one have read them. Yes, they are lacking in plot, but I have never used a premade adventure without altering it in some way to fit my campaign.
To be honest, Bruce's work on the savage coast is a lot better than the adventures that came before. I use them to fill out some more of the coast and the map of the ruins was great, but I put more monsters in it :twisted:
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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #3 & 4)

Post by metal »

I was starting to redraw the maps for these last night and have got a question-
What exactly are the "Dry Flats" between the Bylot Hills and the Yazak Steppes? Desert (sandy or rocky), or just clear? :?
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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #3 & 4)

Post by Havard »

metal wrote:I was starting to redraw the maps for these last night and have got a question-
What exactly are the "Dry Flats" between the Bylot Hills and the Yazak Steppes? Desert (sandy or rocky), or just clear? :?
Sorry, I forgot to answer this one. I'm guessing Rocky desert-like terrain...probably some of this near desert type terrain often featured in western movies... :)

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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #6 & 7)

Post by Havard »

I want to get back to the groups listed in this module:

The Chaotic Alliance
The Chaotic Sisterhood: I'm thinking these are tied to the temple of chaos in Hule
Snappers
Aranea: Ancestors of those living in modern Herath

The Neutral Alliance
The Neutral Brotherhood: Traladarans?
Rakasta: These nomads will eventually become the founders of Bellayne
Pagans: These are likely the ancestors of the Robrenn (and maybe also the Eusdrians?)
Nomads: These flock herding nomads could perhaps be descendants of the previous Oltec settlements?

The Lawful Alliance
The Lawful Brotherhood: Traladaran priests.
Lupins: The ancestors of the founders of Renardy
Tortles:
Dervishes: Hulean priests who have been purged from the Temple of Chaos? What happened to these during the centuries between this module and

Natives: These aren't part of any of the alliances, but they generally don't seem to be friendly. Some of these should probably be replaced by goblins or such in the encounters given if you want to adapt it to the Red Steel paradigm, but there could also be Oltec descended peoples who would fall into the category "natives".

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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #6 & 7)

Post by paleologos »

Having just reviewed this adventure over on DF, I thought I'd post my thoughts regarding the various alliances:

The Chaotic Alliance

The Chaotic Sisterhood: There is nothing about their origins or purpose. I like the idea of tying them to the worship of Hel for a couple of reasons. One is that I've pegged the (Chaotic) Brotherhood of Light based out of Slagovich as worshippers of Atzanteotl, and Hel and Atzanteotl are allies. The other is that it could be that the Chaotic Sisterhood hails from Frosthaven, a land hinted at near the source of the Great Northway.

Aranea: The ancestors of those living in Herath.

Snappers: Don't forget the snappers.

The Neutral Alliance

The Neutral Brotherhood: I don't think there's actually mention of a Neutral Brotherhood.

Rakasta: The ancestors of those living in Bellayne.

Pagans: The pagans in X9 use tee-pees, and I think what Rasmussen envisioned was along the lines of Plains Indians (like the Atruaghin Children of the Horse).

edit: mind you, they are also robed and use swords, so maybe something along the pagans in X2 was envisioned - but then why the tee-pees? Maybe these are REH-style Picts?

Nomads: Could there be any connection to the Desert Nomads of X4?

edit: given the proximity to Hule, it would make sense to model these after the Turkish yoruks

The Lawful Alliance

The Lawful Brotherhood: These are clearly modeled after the Franciscan order in the Spanish colonial era in the Southeast United States. Not sure what Mystara-equivalent would be. Maybe an offshoot of the Church of Thyatis?

Lupins: The ancestors of those living in Renardy.

Tortles: Seen one, seen them all.

Dervishes: There are dervishes mentioned in X4 that seem to be modeled after Syrian dervishes. Maybe these are displaced from the Great Waste?

edit: again, given the proximity to Hule, the Mevlevii/whirling dervishes of Turkey seem like the best fit

Natives: It is mentioned that the natives are the ancestors of the Dravs, and it seems that Rasmussen envisioned pueblo-dwelling indians. If the Dravs had Oltec origins, then perhaps the natives are like the Atruaghin Children of the Bear (whereas some of the more violent tribes along the Savage Coast are like the Atruaghin Children of the Tiger).
Last edited by paleologos on Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:03 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #6 & 7)

Post by Seer of Yhog »

[threadjack]

Slight aside - does anyone know whatever happened to Mr. Rasmussen? He was arguably best known for creating Top Secret for TSR, and he wrote a number of TS modules for Dragon Magazine. Apparently he also wrote a new(er) game, Nutz 'n' Voltz (an RPG where the players are all robots), that appeared in White Wolf magazine.

I found a thread on ENWorld about him, and apparently there were preliminary talks about creating a new espionage RPG - here's the relevant post (from 2003):
I had some talks with Merle Rasmussen (creator of TS) about him doing a modern espionage RPG for us but talks fell apart and White Wolf was also trying to get him so I figured I could not beat the big boys calling so I backed out . He is a nice guy and did not understand the d20 mechanics but was willing to team up with a writer for it, since I have heard nothing from him in over 9+ months I would assume he decided to stick with his full time job, it was cool just to talk to him about TS and TSR etc...
Anyhow, it would be cool to get a hold of him, and invite him to have a friendly chat about what he remembers about the SC materials.

[/threadjack]
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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #6 & 7)

Post by paleologos »

Seer of Yhog wrote:[threadjack]

Slight aside - does anyone know whatever happened to Mr. Rasmussen?

Anyhow, it would be cool to get a hold of him, and invite him to have a friendly chat about what he remembers about the SC materials.

[/threadjack]
That would be amazing. I think he had real talent, coming up with innovative ways to play D&D solo, and sketching out vast swaths of the D&D game world.

I think some of his later work suffered from poor editing. It's almost as if his material was rushed into print before it was ready, and could have been much improved had it received sufficient attention. (There's even evidence that X9 "The Savage Coast" went to print with parts of the adventure missing!) It would be interesting to hear his side of the story.

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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #6 & 7)

Post by Seer of Yhog »

I'll see if I can track him down. The Net is wonderful - no matter how careful you are, you always leave a trail, somewhere....
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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #6 & 7)

Post by Havard »

Seer of Yhog wrote:I'll see if I can track him down.
Cool, do it! :)
The Net is wonderful - no matter how careful you are, you always leave a trail, somewhere....
Not sure how wonderful that is, lol, but in this case it could work to everyone's advantage :)

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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #6 & 7)

Post by Seer of Yhog »

Well, I now know enough that we could meet personally, but obviously I won't do that! Still looking for his email.

[edit - found it. I'll draft an email of introduction and share it here to get feedback. I want the approach to be friendly, and hopefully not make him think we're deranged fans or anything]
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Draft contact letter - tell me what you think

Post by Seer of Yhog »

Subj: Invitation to join our Mystaran discussion forum (The Piazza)

Dear Mr. Rasmussen,

I hope this email finds you well. My name is Geoff Gander; I am writing to you to invite you to join the Piazza (http://www.thepiazza.org.uk), the online home of the Mystaran fan community.

As author of such modules as Quagmire, The Savage Coast, Lathan’s Gold, and others, you have contributed a great deal towards making Mystara the rich campaign setting that it ultimately became. Even though the product line has long since been officially discontinued, we continue to discuss it, expand on it, and keep it alive. One way, in particular, that we do this is by inviting D&D and Mystara authors such as yourself to talk about your work, share memories, and answer questions that we might have.

Other TSR alumni, such as Tim Beach, Allen Varney, and Colin McComb, have visited to answer questions about their work, and the discussions have been very friendly and open. The members of the Piazza would love to hear from you, too.

In closing I hope you accept my invitation, and if so I (and many others!) look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Geoff Gander

****I'd like to hear from those of you who have approached other TSR alumni on the overall angle.
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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #6 & 7)

Post by Hugin »

That looks really good, Geoff. Here's to hoping that he accepts.

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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #6 & 7)

Post by Seer of Yhog »

Thanks! I'll give it another couple of hours for any comments, and I'll fire it off before leaving work today. Of course, all this care might be for nought, but we lose nothing by trying. The only cost to me was joining the network, so now anyone who's looking for me can find me a lot easier. Yay.

*melodramatic sigh* The sacrifices I make for you guys! :P
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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #6 & 7)

Post by Dave L »

It sounds really good to me.

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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #6 & 7)

Post by Havard »

Yeah, looks good Geoff :)

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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #6 & 7)

Post by Seer of Yhog »

Message sent! Grr...that MyLife site is sneaky. I registered, but actually had to pay a membership fee to send the bloody message (and I don't recall reading any fine print about that). Ah well, a token sacrifice for the greater good!
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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #6 & 7)

Post by Havard »

Seer of Yhog wrote:Message sent! Grr...that MyLife site is sneaky. I registered, but actually had to pay a membership fee to send the bloody message (and I don't recall reading any fine print about that). Ah well, a token sacrifice for the greater good!
:o

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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #6 & 7)

Post by Seer of Yhog »

My thoughts exactly. Well, my thoughts ran more along the lines of

:evil: :evil: :shock: :o :!: :!: :evil: :evil:

...but, what's done is done. If Merle joins the Piazza, it will be worth it.
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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #6 & 7)

Post by paleologos »

Hey, that's amazing!

Thanks, Geoff - I hope he responds!

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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #6 & 7)

Post by Seer of Yhog »

I hope so too. If this doesn't work within a month or so, I have a plan B.
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Re: Tortles of Purple Sage (Dungeon #6 & 7)

Post by paleologos »

(bump)

Was there ever any luck getting in touch with ole' Merle?

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