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The Yellow King RPG Has Arrived

Robin D. Laws’ The Yellow King has landed on DriveThruRPG for an eye-watering $54.95. For that you get a lot of content -- four books totaling over 700 pages, a GM screen, a bonus adventure, two card decks, and even a music album!

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It's a GUMSHOE-powered game inspired by Robert W. Chambers' The King in Yellow, a book of macabre supernatural short stories, which was one of Lovecraft's influences. Lovecraft himself used elements of the book (and the stage play), and in Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu RPG the King in Yellow is an avatar of Hastur.

This RPG contains four setting books (the core rules are in the first). In one players are American art students investigating vampires and aliens in Paris; in the next, the players are soldiers in Europe 1947 on an eerie, shifting battlefield; the third has them in 2017 America after a civil war; and the last portrays the modern day permeated by supernatural beings.

Oh, there's a teaser trailer!

 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


Dr. Bull

Explorer
Robin D. Laws is an excellent author. I probably have 10 different publications on my shelves that he wrote. I have another 20 publications that he co-authored.

HOWEVER, I am getting exhausted from the page count of recent publications (not just his... almost all rpg companies seem to equate page count with quality). Page count does NOT equal quality. (I have not read Robin's most recent publication, so I cannot comment on the quality of this publication.)

I've recently read an <unnamed> source book that could have been half as long with an equal level of content. I could list them, but I don't want to be unfair.

700 pages?

"Brevity is the soul of wit."
- William Shakespeare
 

TrippyHippy

Adventurer
I had it - it’s currently with another of my group who likes Gumshoe, and we’ll see how the game goes when he runs it.

Exceptional production standards, with properly bound books, good quality paper and a wrap-around case, that is all quite sturdy. It’s built to last.

For me personally, I was left wondering what I was going to do with it. The four settings are linked, but not in an intuitively sequential way. The system is simple enough - especially if you’ve played Gumshoe before.
 

Olaf the Stout

Adventurer
Is $55 for 4 PDFs totalling over 700 pages eye watering by today’s standards? I think I’ve paid that much or more for similar amounts of digital content.

I’m not sure I’ll be buying it, but that’s due to not having enough time to play the RPGs I already own, rather than because I’m not interested in it.
 





Jer

Adventurer
I was a Kickstarter backer for this and finally with my gaming group playing weekly now during the lockdown we might actually get an opportunity to try it out.

BTW - Pelgrane has posted all of their Free RPG Day PDFs on their website as a "Donate What You Want" to Doctors Without Borders bundle. The last one includes "The Doors to Heaven" - a Yellow King scenario set in the first era the books describe (Paris during the Belle Epoque) that has pregens and enough of the rules to run the scenario, so if you want a peek at the QuickShock Gumshoe rules and an idea of the kind of game it is there's an opportunity.

Pay What You Want for Free (RPG Day) adventures

(They also have multiple 13th Age scenarios and a number of different other Gumshoe offerings in there, so even if you're not so interested in Yellow King there might be something else worth throwing a few bucks to Doctors Without Borders for...)
 

dcharold

Villager
This is a great game - played the free RPG scenario and the Paris Opera one so far -- both great. I bought the print version but it comes with PDF and they are great - very nicely formatted.
 

Michael Dean

Explorer
Robin D. Laws is an excellent author. I probably have 10 different publications on my shelves that he wrote. I have another 20 publications that he co-authored.

HOWEVER, I am getting exhausted from the page count of recent publications (not just his... almost all rpg companies seem to equate page count with quality). Page count does NOT equal quality. (I have not read Robin's most recent publication, so I cannot comment on the quality of this publication.)

I've recently read an <unnamed> source book that could have been half as long with an equal level of content. I could list them, but I don't want to be unfair.

700 pages?

"Brevity is the soul of wit."
- William Shakespeare

"I'm exhausted from books with a lot of pages." How's that for bevity?

I don't get this complaint, really. Nobody's equating page count with quality, except for people complaining about big books raising straw men about it. Quality = quality, no matter what the page count is.
 


Von Ether

Adventurer
Big Books? Try reading David Weber's Safehold series. Sadly about all I have time for these days is computer games...

Don't kid yourself, it's a matter of priorities and/or scheduling. Do what make you happy, especially in these weird times, but I come at it from the other end.

See, I do 2-3 hours a week for video games -- and that's because it's also a long-distance family bonding thing; my son, brothers and I. So it's doing double duty and not even the sole focus of why we together for the night.

I spend a lot more hours either playing or writing about TTRPGs throughout the week, but those are my priorities -- and until recently I was near an awesome FLGS and it was easy to get a group together and play at the times that made sense for me.

You know what, I was wrong.

It's also a matter of pop culture. Video games that are RPGs used to be called CRPGs because you assumed that RPG meant dice and a table. Now, strangely, the hobby that started CRPGs now has to have "TT" in the front because too many assume that RPG means a RPG video game.

Reminds me of the time when I felt that I must of Rip Van Winkled when suddenly (to me) gamer meant video games instead of RPGs, wargames and boardgames.

So there can be a set of habits and infrastructure (like for me, I own NO consoles so no infrastructure) to push someone to think of video games as an "easier" priority choice than doing a TTRPG or Zoom+TTRPG .
 

Mournblade94

Adventurer
Are Games like this good for long term campaigns or are they all story bound? I see alot of indie games that seem to just be set ups for specific stories. I haven't explored indie games like this much.
 

So this seems really interesting and it's Robin Laws, so it's going to be good. My question is about how connected each of the settings are meant to be? I've read little hints that indicate that each campaign, played out in each setting, is meant to be connected into one meta-campaign. Does anyone know if that's the case?

I find the idea fascinating, but I'm curious if I've misunderstood. I'd also worry about finding the time to run several campaigns in order to get the full effect of seeing how they fit together.
 

Garyda

Villager
Don't kid yourself, it's a matter of priorities and/or scheduling. Do what make you happy, especially in these weird times, but I come at it from the other end.

See, I do 2-3 hours a week for video games -- and that's because it's also a long-distance family bonding thing; my son, brothers and I. So it's doing double duty and not even the sole focus of why we together for the night.

I spend a lot more hours either playing or writing about TTRPGs throughout the week, but those are my priorities -- and until recently I was near an awesome FLGS and it was easy to get a group together and play at the times that made sense for me.

You know what, I was wrong.

It's also a matter of pop culture. Video games that are RPGs used to be called CRPGs because you assumed that RPG meant dice and a table. Now, strangely, the hobby that started CRPGs now has to have "TT" in the front because too many assume that RPG means a RPG video game.

Reminds me of the time when I felt that I must of Rip Van Winkled when suddenly (to me) gamer meant video games instead of RPGs, wargames and boardgames.

So there can be a set of habits and infrastructure (like for me, I own NO consoles so no infrastructure) to push someone to think of video games as an "easier" priority choice than doing a TTRPG or Zoom+TTRPG .
Primary problem for me is that I also serve as chief care taker for my diabetic wife who had a stroke 5 years ago. I can do the computer rpgs just pause and go take care of what ever needs to be taken care of but obviously that doesn't work well with groups.
 

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