As addressed in an earlier piece, you may want to deploy a nastier set of Shock and Injury cards when playing The Yellow King Roleplaying Game in one-shot format.

The cards mentioned there give you a steeper doom spiral. But some con games may tick along safely until the very last moment, where dramatic necessity demands less of a spiral than a precipitous drop from unharmed to smeared across the streets of Paris. (Or the battlefield, or post-revolutionary New York, or in your neighborhood.)

This will most often happen when you as GM do your subtle and not-so-subtle best to steer the investigators from final annihilation, but the players follow their hearts and charge in headlong, warnings be damned.

When this happened in a con run I GMed last spring, I improvised my way to a result that provided the 50% party kill story logic decreed.

(Long story short: half the group decided to attack the Carcosan doppelgangers who had engineered their participation in the publication of the play. The other half decided to abstain. I pointed out what a big disadvantage this would put the fighting characters in. They remained undeterred. Not because they were foolish, but because it was the fun and fitting thing to do.)

Imposing an enormous Challenge rating to compensate for their unspent Fighting points was the easy part.

When you find yourself in this situation, you can improvise the requisite sudden deaths. But you might want cards to prove that you’re doing it within the rules. Which is what you’ll be doing, when you deal out the cards below.

BRINK OF DOOM

Injury

-2 to all tests.

The next Shock or Injury card you receive becomes your Final Card.

CLIMACTIC DOOM

Injury

Counts as your Final Card.

You are dead. Surviving PCs might take advantage of shattered reality to restore your the ability to speak and move. Even so, you’re still dead and leave play at end of scenario.


The Yellow King Roleplaying Game takes you on a brain-bending spiral through multiple selves and timelines, pitting characters against the reality-altering horror of The King in Yellow. When read, this suppressed play invites madness, and remolds our world into a colony of the alien planet Carcosa. Four core books, served up together in a beautiful slipcase, confront layers with an epic journey into horror in four alternate-reality settings: Belle Epoque Paris, The Wars, Aftermath, and This Is Normal Now. Purchase The Yellow King Roleplaying Game in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

quade (1)In the world of Mutant City Blues, super powers come from a single source, and are well-documented enough to be understood with forensic science and to have been incorporated into legal proceedings. The Quade Diagram, devised by Dr Lucius Quade, maps them all out, and shows their associated defects. It’s this diagram which makes the forensic investigation possible. It also doubles up as a central source of character generation. In MCB, the names your character uses for their powers are the same name you use a player.

Design Notes

The Quade Diagram, and its role in character generation, exists primarily to evoke the particular setting of Mutant City Blues. It conveys the idea that the setting’s mutant powers conform to unvarying, if not yet fully understood, laws of science. The diagram reinforces the concept that all powers share the same origin. It has some game balance effects, making it difficult for a single player to cherry-pick all of the most dramatic abilities, but these are not its primary point. GMs may wish to warn players ahead of time that Mutant City Blues discards the standard super-powered RPG design goal of allowing you to replicate any hero you find in comic books. You’ll find that you can create knock-offs of certain iconic characters but that others are impossible to reproduce.

The driving convention in a default comic book universe is that every character embodies a unique theme and distinctive set of powers. In the Mutant City Blues world, enhanced characters conform to a number of recognizable types, with slight variations in detail. MCB includes the option to create characters without the Quade diagram if you wish.