The Yellow King RPG

The book has been written.

The book has been read.

Now it rewrites you.

Across time it spreads, creating dread new realities.

And you’re in all of them.

Written and designed by GUMSHOE master Robin D. Laws, YKRPG takes you on a brain-bending spiral through multiple selves and timelines.

Inspired by Robert W. Chambers’ influential cycle of short stories, it pits the characters against the reality-altering horror of The King in Yellow. This suppressed play, once read, invites madness or a visit from its titular character, an alien ruler intent on invading and remolding our world into a colony of his planet, Carcosa.

Four books, served up together in a beautiful slipcase, confront your players with an epic journey into reality horror:

  • Belle Époque Paris, where a printed version of the dread play is first published. Players portray American art students in its absinthe-soaked world, navigating the Parisian demimonde and investigating mysteries involving gargoyles, vampires, and decadent alien royalty.
  • The Wars, an alternate reality in which the players take on the role of soldiers bogged down in the great European conflict of 1947. While trying to stay alive on an eerie, shifting battlefield, they investigate supernatural mysteries generated by the occult machinations of the Yellow King and his rebellious daughters.
  • Aftermath, set later in the same reality, in present day North America. A bloody insurrection has toppled a dictatorial regime loyal to Carcosa. Players become former partisans adjusting to ordinary life, trying to build a just society from the ashes of civil war. But not all of the monsters have been thoroughly banished—and like it or not, they’re the ones with the skills to hunt them and finish them off.
  • This is Normal Now. In the present day we know, albeit one subtly permeated by supernatural beings and maddening reality shifts, ordinary people band together, slowly realizing that they are the key to ending a menace spanning eras and realities.

New GUMSHOE features include:

  • A completely new player-facing combat system.
  • A fresh, evocative approach to wounds, physical and psychic, inspired by the innovations of GUMSHOE One-2-One.
  • Linked character creation across multiple settings.

Status: headed to printing

58 Responses to “The Yellow King RPG”

  1. My company Crônicas da Magia, leader company for translating & game localization in LatAm, is very interested in bringing this title to Brazil and LatAm as our first RPG release.

    Let me know if this suits your plans. The early days of a KS is the best time to translate a RPG book.

  2. Jon Hook says:

    Take my money now!

  3. SunlessNick says:

    I have seen the Yellow Sign, and am drawn into the orbit of the King in Yellow. I walk Carcosa now, and my eventual purchase of this game will be the mere culmination of a process that began long before.

    That said, two questions:

    1. Can we conclude from the new features that the rest of the system will be close to the GUMSHOE we know?

    2. Will the slipcase be the only physical edition, or is it a special case, with a more regular book being available too? (The slipcase version sounds nice, but if I had a choice, I would prefer an edition that matches my other GUMSHOW books)

    Actually three questions:

    3. Will there be guidelines on integrating Soldiers of Pen and Ink as a fifth component?

  4. Toby Whitty says:

    This looks very interesting. (Reaches for wallet)

  5. Curtis Takahashi says:

    Sounds interesting. Please keep me advised.

  6. Greyjoy says:

    Great !

  7. Lisa Padol says:

    When is the launch?

  8. Scott Haring says:

    Oh just take all my money now.

  9. Mike says:

    Um, when in KS launch?

  10. Thomas van Iersel says:

    Holy shitballs! Had a little positive heart attack there! Would you be able to provide us with an estimate of the creation of the KS page? As in next week or in a month or 2? How about tomorrow, tomorrow sounds good!
    As you may have noticed, I cannot wait, but thanks in advance for the answer ;)

  11. allan says:

    can we subscribe to a list to be informed when its on KS?

  12. Terry O'Carroll says:

    Two of the settings, “The Wars” and “Aftermath”, seem to be inspired by two of the stories in Robin D. Laws’ King in Yellow inspired collection of short stories. Is that right?

    Any date on when the KS goes live, even approximately?

  13. Alex Roberts says:

    Loving all the enthusiasm, everyone! Unfortunately the launch date must remain shrouded in mystery… for now.

  14. The Kings Loyal Servant says:

    Any way we can sign up to be notified when this KS goes live? I’m very interested in this but worry I’ll forget to check back on it and will miss the KS.

  15. SunlessNick says:

    Is anyone else now picturing a slightly rewritten The Black Chateau from Shadows Over Filmland, with the four mutual victims/tormenters each inhabiting a different one of these realities, yet still somehow still having interacted with each other when the Filmland investigators relive their lives and deaths?

  16. Chris says:

    Will there be rules to create unique supernatural beings/monsters?

  17. Boda Gyorgy says:

    When is the launch folks?

  18. D Bateman says:

    The thread of narrative infecting the mundane is ideal ground for the minds of pelgrane.

  19. Humots says:

    Looks wonderful! I will definitely be keeping an eye on this!

  20. JWick says:

    just listened to a character generation podcast. sounds uninspired and standard thus far. hoping the AP is better.

  21. […] to Pelgrane Press (publishers of The Trail of Cthulhu) there are plans to kickstart Laws’ The Yellow King Roleplaying Game: a standalone game set in a world warped by the emergence of Chambers’ forbidden […]

  22. […] “The Yellow King” RPG draws inspiration from Robert W. Chambers short stories, which in turn inspired Lovecraft. Though from an earlier  source, TYK plays much like a Cthulhu game with a literary air. Set in “Belle Epoque” Paris, we played art students, poets and architects hunting a book, the legendary “The King in Yellow” play.  It physically alters and kills all who read it.  An investigative mission, we ran around Paris chasing mutated bodies, crazy old art collectors and had to dispose of a body. As an aside, the PCs were utterly ill suited to playing investigator.  Which was quite amusing, especially when we had to get rid of a body and I suggested using a dangerous river feature called a “stopper.” It is a feature in many rivers where an object (like a body) is recirculated in a hole by the flow of the river. Objects can be trapped for days or weeks and would make a great body disposal site. I was an architect, so I thought some river features might have come up in his studies. The jaw drops I got at the table made me smile.  I dabbled in kayaking in college and it was high on the hazard list. I think they thought I was a serial killer in training. After tracing the book we defeated an invader from the dark city of Carcossa and saved Paris. Great fun, but I dislike the Gumshoe system, so I will only play this if it is ported to a less annoying game system. […]

  23. Michael Welker says:

    So, is this still only pre-order, or is it in-stock?

  24. John Perry says:

    Hey is the projected shipping still December? or is it looking like Jan/Feb 2019 now?

    • Cat Tobin says:

      Due to issues with our existing print partners, we’ve had to find a new printer to produce this. We’re hoping to sign the contract with a new printer this week; their current lead time estimates mean we’ll likely be shipping the Kickstarter copies in early March.

  25. Grégory Meurant says:


    What is the release date of the pdf, and when will we have access to it if we didn’t back the KS but we pre-ordered the pdf?

    Thank you!

  26. […] Livingstone and Steve Jackson, Steamforged Games, Inked Adventures, The Cthulhu Hack, Mantic Games, Pelgrane Press, Ulisses Spiele and Ulisses US, Chaosium and Cubicle […]

  27. Will says:

    Hi there, is there any update to when the PDFs are going to be available to people who have preordered? Would love to get my group started with this soon. Thanks

  28. Abe With The Wrench says:

    Played this at Wittcon 2019, love the simplicity of the mechanics and the intricacies of the weird fiction setting without falling into the usual trappings of THE ELDRITCH HORROR you see in the dozens of Cthulhu games that glut the market these days.

    Was heartbroken when I rushed to snag the PDF and found that no matter how hard I threw money at the screen it still wasn’t available.

  29. David Harold says:


    I see that you’d planned to send PDFs in March. I’ve not had an email about them yet – did it happen? Any update on print edition?


    • Mika Talley says:

      Hello David,
      Thanks for reaching out. The PDFs have been sent out to Kickstarter Backers and will be sent to pre-order customers after the Backerkit closes on 4/30. The print copies are now expected mid-summer (due to a delay with our printer).

  30. David Harold says:

    Hi! Enjoying the PDF. Any update on the books? Still due mid-summer? I presume that, being literal, that means late this month?

    • Cat Tobin says:

      Hey David, this has been delayed due to issues with our printer. We’ll be posting an update on the Kickstarter once we’ve resolved the problems, and we’ll post more information in the next See Page XX after that update.

  31. Adam Fisher says:

    Hello! I just found out about The Yellow King recently. Will either the books or the PDF be available to buy if we didn’t back the kickstarter?

  32. Steve Hammatt says:

    Is there a way to pre-order this and/or buy as PDF? Or do we need to wait until it’s shipping now? I understand that there have been issues with the printing.

    • Cat Tobin says:

      We’ve now closed the pre-order, Steve, so you’ll need to wait until after it’s shipped to backers. We’ll be releasing the books in September, and the PDFs in November or December.

  33. James says:

    Any word when the hard copies escape the Forbidden Zone?

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