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The Yellow King RPG

The Yellow King RPG

Monday 28 June 2021
In June 2021 we presented The Yellow King RPG Bundle, featuring the surreal supernatural game from Pelgrane Press, The Yellow King Roleplaying Game. Designed by Robin D. Laws (Cthulhu Confidential, The Esoterrorists) and funded in a June 2017 Kickstarter campaign, the brain-bending YKRPG uses the fast-playing “Quickshock” GUMSHOE system. Investigate the malign influence of Carcosa in mysteries of reality-changing horror across four different timelines inspired by the famous horror stories of Robert W. Chambers collected in The King in Yellow.

Trail of Cthulhu, Night’s Black Agents, TimeWatch, Mutant City Blues — to sort out the many flavors of GUMSHOE, Pelgrane Press staff writer Gareth Hanrahan wrote a blog post, “What’s Your GUMSHOE size?,” that includes an excellent precis for The Yellow King RPG: “The game is divided into four sequences. Each sequence has a different setting and a new group of player characters, but there are thematic and personal links between each part of the campaign, and each one builds on decisions made in the previous sequences. In the first sequence, Paris, the players play American art students in Bohemian 1890s Paris. In The Wars they’re doomed soldiers in the absurdist meat-grinder of the Continental War that’s engulfed Europe. In the present day of Aftermath the characters are freedom fighters in an alternate America, trying to rebuild society after their successful overthrow of the tyrannical Castaigne regime. Finally, in This Is Normal Now, the players are ordinary people in a world that looks just like our present reality — except….

“Investigate the malign influence of Carcosa as it infects and warps reality. Battle against alien monsters and corrupted human servitors. Discover the nature of the King, his court, and his daughters. Some sequences also have specialized mechanics for aspects of play; The Wars covers battlefield hazards, giant war machines, and alien weapons, Aftermath has mechanics for political manipulation and furthering agendas. [There are] about 40 Investigative Abilities in total, but each sequence uses a much smaller subset. About 15 General Abilities, again customized to the sequence. Character generation uses a template system; note also that The Yellow King uses the QuickShock system for quicker combat resolution.

“Play The Yellow King if you want to explore the surreal horror of Carcosa; you want to shake up your campaign regularly, switching up settings and relationships; you like improvised weirdness, cryptic villains, and metafictional horror.”

This bargain-priced offer presented The Yellow King RPG and a congeries of Carcosan creations. The King Collection consisted of all four ebooks in The Yellow King RPG (retail price $55), along with all six atmospheric music tracks in James Semple’s The Yellow King Suite.

Those who paid more than the threshold (average) price¬†also got our entire Scholar Collection with four more titles worth an additional $56, including a big collection of stunning YKRPG handouts, Absinthe in Carcosa; Kenneth Hite’s erudite edition of the original Robert W. Chambers book, The King in Yellow: Annotated Edition from Arc Dream Publishing; and two volumes of fiction by YKRPG designer Robin D. Laws: the alternate-history novel The Missing and the Lost and — previously presented way back in the Bundle of Holding 3 (June 2013!) — the story collection New Tales of the Yellow Sign.