Through Violet Cusps

‘THROUGH VIOLET CUSPS’ is the home of articles mostly by an ardent Dying Earth fan who wrote (primarily in an amateur capacity) for Pelgrane Press in the middle of the First Aeon. His advancement from the common rabble of roguish dabblers into the ranks of true Magicians means that he can no longer reliably expand on the creations here. (Needing to spend many long tedious hours each day tending his vats.) In 2010/11, various chunks of old unfinished notes were rediscovered, and polished to completion. Henceforth, however, this page is primarily deemed to be an archive. May it still bring joy to gamers for Aeons to come. (If you want to download files direct to a PC rather than having them attempt to load in your browser, right-click on the item and choose ‘Save Link As…’.)

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June 2011

And Thence…to AlmeryThe final segment (Part 5) of the Footsteps of Fools series. Carrying our long-suffering travelers from the wilds north of Erze Damath, through that magnificent city and back to Azenomei (via Old Romarth). Also includes full details on Pergolo (including castle plan) and options for orchestrating an epic confrontation with Iucounu the Laughing Magician!

April 2011

The Guide to Old RomarthA seven-page document with map that gives a fine outline of the version of Old Romarth featured in the forthcoming ‘And Thence…to Almery‘. This guide is an essential adjunct to running ‘And Thence…to Almery’ since a substantial piece of the action occurs in this dark city. However, the guide can also be used as a stand-alone piece.



March 2011

Beyond the Mountains of Magnatz(In the Footsteps of Fools: Part 4) This penultimate epic installment of the advanced Cugel-Level series is also another mini-campaign. You may have thought your adventurous rogues were trapped in the barren north until the sun went dark. But no, the former Lords of Cil are on the move again!!! Beginning with a highly detailed scenario in the peculiarly menacing town of Vull, PCs then enter a series of challenging mini-scenarios that progress across the savage mountains themselves. These adventures end with two larger scenarios set in and around the notorious Vale of Dharad. (This publication leads directly into the shortly forthcoming “And Thence to Almery”, which covers new escapades with the PCs back at last in civilized lands. ATTA climaxes in Azenomei – in an epic confrontation with the infamous Iucounu the Laughing Magician.) … Available from the products page.


February 2011

“The Royal Cartographers”A guide to using the Scaum Valley Gazetteer as a single complete travelogue/campaign (1.7MB)

October 2010

“Magical FootnotesA Short Series of Magic-related rules extensions and suggestions. Recently salvaged final fragments of the ancient archives that were thought to have been entirely emptied by rogue clevenger! (2.36MB)

August 2007

The Lords of Cil(In the Footsteps of Fools: Part 3) This is also a mini-campaign on its own. It has our dashing adventurers advancing out of Saskervoy and into the the ancient Empire of Cil. Explore the majesty of the airy Grand Palace, interact with refined and courteous nobles, and dine in the finest inns of the industrious and thriving town. Oh wait! That was last aeon. Coughs nervously: Pretenders to the crumbling throne, mutter, Political Intrigue, ahem, Demonic Infestation, blah, Murder, humph, Cobwebs, Flashing rapiers… Available from the products page.

July 2007

“The Lords of Cil” Players’ Pictures – Here is the handout page containing Luigi Castellani’s original illustrations. (2MB)

June 2007

The Mysterious East – After “The Lords of Cil” the next instalment will be: “Beyond the Mountains of Magnatz”. Here, as a taster, is a colour map of that part of the world, created in Campaign Cartographer and tweaked in Photoshop. [After slight revision of BMM as it was developed, this map is no longer 100% identical to the one in the publication.] (1.2MB)

April 2007

Gilgad’s Wilderness Survival Guide – Another piece salvaged from quality material that was originally earmarked for inclusion in the Dying Earth Bestiary. A selection of magical items, tweaks and bonus tag-lines.

March 2007

The Magic of the Wilds – Once upon a time a DE Bestiary was mooted. This has now been subsumed into the DE Compendium. For reasons of space various pieces cannot be included in the redesigned book. Some will be in Tooth, Talon & Pinion (the next issue of the XPS magazine), and one section is right here – a bunch of spells and cantraps related to creatures and the wilderness.

January 2007

The Creep of Inaccuracy – An introductory Rhialto-Level adventure designed to accompany Rhialto’s Book of Marvels. Stands alone for the sheer fun of it, or can be used to begin a Rhialto campaign (either using those risen from the ranks of Turjan-Level or brand new PCs). Avert the scourge that is plaguing the libraries of Almery’s arch-magicians, impress Ildefonse’s enclave and assure your place as provisional members, prove your superior worth over that of your companions of poor quality, and collect IUON stones like there’s no tomorrow (which there might not be). This is a full adventure as well as being an introduction to Rhialto-Level style of play.Even arch-magicians can risk mortality! Available from the products page.


October & November 2006

Strangers in Saskervoy (In the Footsteps of Fools: Part 2) An entire mini-campaign available from the products page. These escapades advance Cugel-Level adventuring in new directions. Ten or more gaming sessions, from five interlinked episodes, cover the PCs’ possible experiences in the realm of Saskervoy after being rudely deposited on Shanglestone Strand. Will they conquer this unhappy circumstance and make a name for themselves through cunning and bold action, or will they once again end up fleeced and fleeing for their lives? Fate will present them with ancient ruins, forgotten treasures, bizarre magic, peculiarly vicious half-men, urban escapades, and the chance to work for local notable Twango of Flutic on a number of almost insignificant errands. This publication contains maps, illustrations, appendices, tag-lines for all sessions, GMCs, location guides, and a pair of repulsive bibelots. Could an adventurous rogue ask for more?

September 2006

Gomoshan’s Tomb – Available from the products page, this Turjan-Level adventure comes complete with maps and illustrations and a variety of GM aids (including detailed character sheets). The PCs are seasoned adventurers hired by an ambitious sage to plunder one of the tombs in Kaiin’s ruined Old Town district. Avoiding Chun the Unadvoidable will be the least of their problems. Originally written as a convention module, it has been redesigned to serve either as a one-off introduction to Turjan-Level play, or as an episode in a Turjanic campaign. It could with effort be adapted as part of the original Footsteps of Fools series.

August 2006

Flolad’s Nephew – A free 12-page adventure outline adding to the original “Footsteps of Fools” series. Set in Kaiin after the ‘Kaiinese Drakeling’ (see below) this can be used immediately prior to “All’s Fair At Azenomei”. The PCs are seconded into the bodyguard racket. Their employer is the worryingly powerful Flolad of Odkin Prospect; their charge is Flolad’s loutish scion of an adopted nephew. {FoF 0:10}

July 2006

The Wayfarer’s Guide to Saskervoy Town – This geographical guide [1.7 MB] (including map) is presented as an adjunct to the “Strangers in Saskervoy” adventure series.

June 2006

Using Spells at Cugel-LevelAn eight-page piece for those GMs who run (or plan to) adventures for PCs with Magic ratings of 0-7, where the PCs are beginning to explore real spells. Explore the pitfalls and pratfalls (and mechanics) of learning and attempting to use magic when you’re an ill-trained Dabbler rather than a real apprentice Magician. Includes several robustly jocular Spell Failure tables. Also contains various amusingly imperfect spells (and their likely entertaining consequences) of the kind often found on ‘genuine scrolls of unquestionable archaic provenance’ and inside ‘mouldering tomes of authentic ancient munificence’.

May 2006

The Day of the Quelo – Another finely crafted Cugel-level adventure is available via the products page. Originally created as a tournament scenario then lovingly redesigned; the ever-optimistic PCs are hired to transport a strange but docile pack-beast a mere single day’s journey along the well-travelled Derna Road. What could possibly go wrong? This product showcases the terrific art of Jerome Huguenin. For those who wish to run this as an intro to DERPG gaming or as a hazardous undertaking outside of the normal campaign, four Pregenerated Characters – plus two spares – are included in the package. It is useful (but not essential) to own the Players’ Guide to Kaiin as an adjunct to running this adventure. {FoF 0:6}

April 2006

Alternative Rules for Cugel-Level Gaming – At long last rewritten in a way that makes sense to others than just myself, my DERPG House Rules (1MB). Tried and tested over many games, these utilise the D20 but are most decidedly not related to the generic D20 system. You will need to own a version of the official rules for this document to make sense – either the original rulebook or the pdf of Quickstart Rules are preferable. Heretically designed as a way to play Cugel-Level DERPG more in the manner of a classical weird-fantasy RPG. (Alternate adapted character sheet included.) [Slight revisions: Feb 2007]

March 2006

Deities of the Dying Earth – As an atonement for the Demons of the DE book, we bring you the Forgotten Deities of the Dying Earth (3MB): an opportunity to bring goodness, light and sanity (not!) to your version of Vance’s wonderful ancient world.

December 2005

All’s Fair At Azenomei (In the Footsteps of Fools: Part 1) Available via the products page, this professionally produced scenario gives your PCs the chance to explore Azenomei in depth, enjoy all the fun of the fair, and take part in a series of contests on behalf of a local sponsor of dubious repute. As you might imagine, little is in fact ‘fair’. The PCs will have to use their full repertoire of chicaneries and wiles to triumph over their predicaments. This is an adjunct to the free Guide to Azenomei (see below) and the first in the ‘Footsteps of Fools campaign’ – a series of adventures taking your PCs across Cugel’s Dying Earth. Here is the free color map of Azenomei to accompany the adventure.


October 2005


Exotic Weaponry – A nuts and bolts look at some of the more outlandish weapons from the stories, and a discussion of how to use them in your campaign. (Developed independently from the XPS article on the same topic.)


July 2005

A Walk in the Woods – This month we present “A Walk in the Woods”, the long-overdue extended ending for the High Road to Kaiin scenario (see below). Since both that original scenario and this extension (which may also stand as part of another scenario) are creature-focussed, see them as adjuncts to Tooth, Talon & Pinion. {FoF 0:4}

June 2005

The Eighteenth Aeon – Violet Cusps welcomes the second contribution to its halls from the pen of the worthy Greg Saunders. Archaeological Discussions of the Eighteenth Aeon [1.6MB] [zip archive] is not only an academic report on several antique societies but also contains adventure ideas, new spells, and a number of magical relics.



May 2005

The Saskervoy Reach – A new project has been begun: In the Footsteps of Fools… a linked series of Cugel-Level adventures for sale. Nonetheless, incidental materials can still be offered for free, and (after the Guide to Azenomei – see below) here is the second – a map of the Saskervoy Reach [zip archive] 650 kb created with Campaign Cartographer and then tweaked in Photoshop.



April 2005

The Kaiinese Drakeling – And back to the author’s favorite role-playing civic environment – the ancient city of Kaiin. The Kaiinese Drakeling is a non-sequential sequel to the adventure of the Exasperating Cadaver (see below) reintroducing several familiar faces and locations. {FoF 0:9}

March 2005

Axomber’s Crypt – The tortuous ravings of the author this month bring you the Cugel-Level (or possibly low Turjan-Level) adventure of Axomber’s Crypt. Details include not only the fun-filled crypt, but also notes for a mini-campaign travelling from Azenomei to Kaiin adapting information from the Scaum Valley Gazetteer. This piece is a companion to the free sample chapter on the Valley of Graven Tombs, which is required for optimum running of this scenario. {FoF 0:8}



February 2005

Additional Rules – This month we bring you three personal expansions to the official rules: Revitalization covers various possibilities for the restoration of life; Supernatural Terror presents amusing options for those who fail their Wherewithal at Cugel Level; and the Enhanced Action ruling provides a means of adjudicating events that happen too swiftly for a series of rolls against pool points to be realistic.
For your convenience we are happy to provide all of these in one zipped archive.



January 2005

The Guide to Azenomei was also inspired by the ‘Players’ Guide to Kaiin‘, and is formatted in that style. Part One (1.38MB) and Part Two (0.83MB). Here also is the full-size Players’ Map. As is our wont, we think of our visitor’s well-being and contentment and thus provide this zipped archive to facilitate the retrieval of all the above documents. This material is the background for a major adventure currently available to buy.

November & December 2004

Necrophages of the Dying Earth [zip archive]. This month’s entry is primarily from the pen (and indeed bizarre imagination) of Greg Saunders – augmented and laid-out by Ian Thomson. It serves as an expansion to the material on necrophages in the ‘Demons of the Dying Earth’ book.

September & October 2004

Kaiin Old Town was inspired by the excellent Players’ Guide to Kaiin, and is formatted in the style of that publication – as if it were an additional chapter. Part One (2.89MB); Part Two (2.17MB); Players’ Map (0.4 MB). We are very pleased to be able to provide all three of these as one zipped archive for your reading pleasure.



August 2004

Advanced Cantraps [zip archive] is the background article (including many examples) for the optional more potent cantraps that were first introduced as an appendix for ‘Demons of the Dying Earth’. [2.9 MB]

July 2004

The High Road to Kaiin is the “Footsteps of Fools” scenario that falls between the ‘Caravan to Aktabras’ (XPS Vol 4/5) adventure and the ‘Exasperating Cadaver’ scenario (available via link immediately below). An optional extended endpiece of this adventure is now also available above. {FoF 0:3}.

June 2004

The Exasperating Cadaver is an adventure set in Kaiin, wherein your Cugelesque PCs must make a delivery from one part of the city to the other. (This extensive escapade also serves as an introductory adventure to the ‘Players’ Guide to Kaiin‘.) {FoF 0:5}



The new Rhialto sheet: Available as one double-sided page.

Blank character sheets: Cugel-Level front page v1; Cugel-Level front page v2; Turjan-Level front page; a universal back page; an extra (third) page for magicians. OR all in one batch (zipped pdfs).

Cugel-Level Sheets with Character Pictures. These require printing on a machine of reasonable quality to show in their full glory: Ch’sainth; Ecnomander; Gorbinesse; Jozenda; Kurnio; and Palandro.

Turjan-Level Sheets with Character Pictures. As above, you will do well to print these on a high-quality machine: Jondar; Lustander; Machask; Romac; Santella; and Zaraflam.

A GM’s aid for tracking Improvement Points, Wealth Owned, and Sympathy Points. Printing this two-page sheet double sided allows you to track up to eight characters with ease.

Another aid for the weary GM. Abbreviated character sheets for the stats of GMCs. On the first page you can cover two ‘personality’ GMCs and on the second page up to four ‘lackeys’.


Click here: for a complete listing of all official DERPG products, and links to their individual pages.

is the home of articles mostly the personal work of an ardent Dying Earth fan who wrote (primarily in an amateur capacity) for Pelgrane Press in the middle of the First Aeon. His advancement from the common rabble of roguish dabblers into the ranks of true Magicians means that he can no longer reliably expand on the creations here. (Needing to spend many long tedious hours each day tending his vats). However, various chunks of old unfinished notes have been rediscovered, and polished to completion. As a parting gesture of appreciation to this rich and appreciated gaming world, a couple will appear here. Plus a couple more (the end of the ‘Footsteps of Fools’ adventure series) will join the normal published material. Henceforth, however, this page is primarily deemed to be an archive. May it still bring joy to gamers for Aeons to come.
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