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.

Inspired by Robert W. Chambers’ influential cycle of short stories, The Yellow King Roleplaying Game takes you on a brain-bending spiral through multiple selves and timelines.

Written and designed by GUMSHOE master Robin D. Laws, 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 full-colour hardback books, served up together in a beautiful slipcase, with a separate GM screen, 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.

Each purchase of The Yellow King RPG from our website, or a bricks-and-mortar retailer, includes the following downloads:

  • PDFs of the Paris, The Wars, Aftermath and This is Normal Now settings
  • GM Screen PDF
  • Slipcase GM Screen PDF
  • MP3s of The Yellow King RPG Suite
  • PNG files of all Shock and Injury cards from the four core settings
  • PNG files of all Goal, Chit & Hit cards from the Aftermath setting
  • Bonus The Yellow King RPG adventure, “The Doors to Heaven”, written by Sarah Saltiel for the Paris setting
  • A PSD format blank template of the Shock, Injury, Goal, Chit & Hit cards
  • A GIMP format blank template of the Shock, Injury, Goal, Chit & Hit cards
  • PDF of the 76-card Basic Shock deck
  • PDF of the 76-card Basic Injury deck


Stock #: PELGY01 Author: Robin Laws
Artists: Aaron Aurelio Acevedo, Dean Engelhardt, Melissa Gay, Shel Kahn, Christian Knutsson, Jessica TC Lee Format: 4 x hardback books, presented in a slipcase, with a separate GM screen

Buy the boxed set (includes slipcase & GM screen)

Buy the complete collection (with Absinthe in Carcosa and The Missing and the Lost)

Buy the game collection (with Absinthe in Carcosa)

Buy the Yellow King RPG PDFs

Buy the complete collection PDFs (with Absinthe in Carcosa and The Missing and the Lost)

Buy the game collection PDFs(with Absinthe in Carcosa)

83 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?

    • Cat Tobin says:

      They will, Adam – we’ll be releasing the YKRPG books in September, and the PDFs in November or December.

    • John M Perry says:

      Now that backers are getting their copies, when will people who pre-ordered will be getting their copies? I preordered back in April 2018.

      • Becky Smith says:

        Hi John. Backer copies are still in the process of being shipped, and as soon as they’ve been shipped, we’ll start shipping the pre-order copies. Thanks, Becky.

  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?

  34. Steve Hammatt says:

    Any more news on general ordering availability? I know that European Kickstarter backers have received their copies, and US backers are receiving them imminently.

    • Becky Smith says:

      Hi Steve. We are still currently waiting for the books to arrive with our US shipper, so US and Canadian backers are still waiting on their copies. It looks like we should hopefully be able to make this available through our webstore from the beginning of next year. Thanks, Becky.

  35. Steve Hammatt says:

    I was lucky enough (though not as lucky as Kickstarter backers) to have a flick through the set at Dragonmeet in London recently. Wow, it looks great! It’ll be worth the wait, I’m sure.

  36. Lê Tùng says:

    Is there any information on the progress of the crossover PDFs?

  37. Ibis says:

    I am REALLY impressed and happy with the product. I particularly enjoyed the novel. My hat’s off to all involved. Well done.

  38. Degeda says:

    The books really look awesome and I wanted to know if there are already partnership about a french traduction? Will you make them use the same packaging type? Thank you

    • Becky Smith says:

      Hello Degeda. Studio Deadcrows are producing the French translation. We would expect them to use the same packaging, but we’re unable to say for sure as that is their decision. Thanks, Becky.

  39. Diane Donaldson says:

    Will there be any downloadable player resources? I’m particularly interested in a copy of the rules I can hand out to players. Failing that, is there any way to buy another copy of the PDF of the first book?

    • Becky Smith says:

      Hi Diane. Downloadable player resources are all available on the YKRPG resources page here. The physical book and accompanying free PDF (which includes a quick reference for players) will be available for pre-order at the beginning of February. The stand-alone PDF will then be available three months later. Thanks, Becky.

      • Diane Donaldson says:

        Thanks Becky! I got the game through the Kickstarter, but I didn’t see a quick reference PDF for players. I’ll check again, or maybe that’s something coming in February? And thanks for the resource page! I tried to find it earlier, but the resources link took me somewhere different — no doubt due to the influence of the Yellow King himself.

      • Steven Hammatt says:

        Thanks Becky, that’s great news about the release. Roll on February!

  40. David Hahn says:

    Where can we get digital copies of the shock and injury card? Better yet, are they available as hard copies? I bought the collector’s edition, but it did not come with the card. I’m confused. Please advise.

    • Becky Smith says:

      Hey David. The Yellow King RPG doesn’t come with physical copies of the Shock and Injury decks. You will find a PDF containing the decks in The Yellow King downloads on your Bookshelf. If you would like physical copies of the decks, and are based in the USA or Canada, these can be purchased from DriveThruRPG. If you are based anywhere outside of the USA and Canada please contact for further details on purchasing the decks. Thanks, Becky.

  41. Diane Donaldson says:

    Hello, will there be a separate PDF reference guide for players? Or do I simply need to extract it from the full PDF? Thanks!

    • Becky Smith says:

      Hi Diane. All of the resources available for The Yellow King can be found on the resources page here. If the resource you require is not available on this page you will need to extract this from the PDF document. Thanks, Becky.

      • David Hahn says:

        Becky, unfortunately that doesn’t exactly answer my question, but there might be a way around that. I bought the deluxe edition (hardback with sleeve cover/GM screen) at my brick and mortar store (Game Empire, San Diego, CA), but even that does not come with a code (?) for the PDFs for the four books. If I had those, I could print my own cards. Can you or someone else in the company help me with this? I’d like to be able to promote The Yellow King via demos, but that is hard to do without access to the shock/injury cards.If need be, I can send a photo to show proof of ownership so I can get the PDFs from you. Help, please?

        • Becky Smith says:

          If you purchase a book directly from us the accompanying PDF is automatically applied to your Pelgrane bookshelf. If the bricks and mortar store you have purchased your book from is part of the Bits & Mortar program they can provide you with the accompanying PDFs. If not, you need to contact with proof of purchase and we’ll add the PDFs to your bookshelf. You’ll need to register here first if you don’t already have a bookshelf.

  42. Moje Cthulhu says:

    Hi, do you have any plans to do another run of print?

  43. […] The Yellow King RPG, Pelgrane Press […]

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