The Yellow King RPG will adapt the influential horror anthology that inspired Lovecraft, True Detective and Game of Thrones


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10 March 2017
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Yellow-King-placeholder-image-scaled-19580.jpg The Yellow King RPG
GUMSHOE system and HeroQuest designer Robin D. Laws to bring Robert W. Chambers’ short stories to the tabletop

An upcoming roleplaying game will bring to the tabletop The King in Yellow, Robert W. Chambers’ 1895 collection of short horror, sci-fi and supernatural stories that went on to inspire works as diverse as H.P. Lovecraft’s Mythos, acclaimed TV show True Detective and the Game of Thrones novels (yes, that’d technically be A Song of Ice & Fire) and television adaptation.

The Yellow King RPG will be written by Robin D. Laws, the author and designer behind the GUMSHOE system and titles including HeroQuest, CCG Shadowfist and the Diana Jones award-winning Hillfolk.

The Yellow King will be based on the GUMSHOE engine, expanded with a new player-facing combat system, new treatment of injuries and character creation that supports use in multiple settings.

Four scenarios will play off the weird fiction nature of The King in Yellow and the fictional play and supernatural being of the same name that appear in many of Chambers’ stories, driving those who encounter them mad – an aspect that would guide Lovecraft’s own exploration of forbidden knowledge and insanity.

The first setting, Belle Epoque Paris, will take place in the French city at the time where the play is first published. Players take on the role of American students looking to uncover mysteries involving “gargoyles, vampires and decadent alien royalty”.

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The second, The Wars, is an alternate-reality where Europe is at war in 1947. Players will apparently attempt to stay alive on the battlefields while dealing with the terrifying creations of the Yellow King.

Aftermath is a continuation of the second scenario, bringing the timeline up to present-day North America where a dictatorship has been toppled and players are learning to cope with the aftermath of civil war – as well as the remaining monsters.

The final tale is This is Normal Now, which jumps back to this dimension and time period to find a band of ordinary people joining together to take on supernatural beasts and discover far-reaching mysteries.

Publisher Pelgrane Press will crowdfund The Yellow King RPG later this year, ahead of a full release in 2018.

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