Friday, April 4, 2014

Lesser Purple Clouds (Lurid Vapors)

"Alone that same day I began my way southward, and for five days made good progress. On the eighth day I noticed, stretched right across the south-eastern horizon, a region of purple vapour which luridly obscured the face of the sun: and day after day I saw it steadily brooding there. But what it could be I did not understand."
The Purple Cloud, by M. P. Shiel

Lesser Purple Cloud (Lurid Vapors)
No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (gaseous form)
Armor Class: 7 (Cannot be harmed by non-magical weapons)
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: 1
Damage: 3d6 per round due to poison/suffocation
Save: F8
Morale: 11

Malevolent and malicious, Purple Clouds are toxic aerial horrors that have lain waste to entire worlds. They spread intensely poisonous gasses before them, killing-off nearly every living thing

with an insatiable, implacable malice that encompasses entire worlds.

Lesser Purple Clouds prowl the ruins of dead worlds like apocalyptic gods or hungry beasts searching for their next victim. They hold uneasy dominion over these places that they have poisoned, where once life flourished and now the Red Weeds are overgrowing everything. It seems that only vermin, fish and plants escape the gaseous wrath of the Purple Clouds.

The few reports recovered from various Dead Worlds by Foragers, Scavenger-scholars and others regarding Purple Clouds agree on only three things: 1) Whatever they are, they are purple and seem to be composed mostly of some sort of toxic vapor, possibly cyanide or something related; 2) The toxic gasses emitted by the Purple Clouds tend to stink of spoilt peaches or almonds, the scent is said to be unmistakable and one should seek to avoid it at all costs; 3) They appear to be actively hostile and possibly sentient in some bizarre fashion, leading some scholars into much pointless conjecture as to how this might be possible.

Source: These Purple Clouds are inspired by M.P. Shiel's The Purple Cloud which is another Last Man on Earth type of post-apocalyptic novel that takes place after a vast Purple Cloud wipes out most of the world's population. The Purple Cloud of the novel originated underground, having been released into the atmosphere by way of a volcanic out-gassing event. The protagonist survives the poisoning of the world due to his having gone to the North Pole. upon returning as the sole survivor of his expedition, he finds everyone else dead, before going off the deep end and burning down most of the world's cities, primarily because he's bored and silly. It is possible that he was driven mad due to all the potted meat he'd been eating, but really, he's a selfish, amoral and unlikable asshat even before heading off to the Arctic, so maybe he was always a bit tetched. Oh and later on he discovers another survivor, a young woman, and that sets off pseudo-Biblical delusions of re-populating the world with his and her descendants. The only thing I personally liked about the novel was the Purple Cloud itself...

You can find a copy of The Purple Cloud via Project Gutenberg, if you're interested, or you might like to try to listen to the audiobook version via LibriVox.

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