Time for a shout-out of royal Carcosan gratitude to the backers of The King in Yellow Roleplaying Game Kickstarter. Their support has unlocked fifteen stretch goals, and now they’re bearing down on the sixteenth.
To keep the main Kickstarter page readable we’ve been noting achieved goals with a graphic that looks like this:
(Pay no heed to the sinister stamp of the Castaigne regime. The king and his daughters insist on it before processing any paperwork.)
Now that we have fifteen stretch goals in pocket we can replace the individual items with a graphic that looks like this:
But a graphic doesn’t tell the full story of this rich and some might say reality-shattering list of extras we’ve been able to add to the game so far.
We’ve posted a backer update through Kickstarter with a description of all the funded goals. But you can’t update an update. (Makes sense when you think about it. Might tear the time-space continuum.)
But you can update a blog post, which is what we’ll be doing here, providing a master list of funded stretch goals.
£37,000 – Full Color Interiors
Stunning visuals enhance the play experience, by conveying mood and tone and performing crucial worldbuilding duties. Most importantly, a gorgeous set of books makes it easier to sell your players on the game. Putting this stretch goal behind us will convince the magic spreadsheet to allow us interior color on every single page, making the most not only of the work of our fine illustrators, but allowing graphic designer Christian Knutsson to work his full and subtle magic on the core game.
£43,000: More Paris Life
Paris in the classic fin de siècle period of the Chambers stories buzzes with evocative detail to bring your game to life. Robin needs your help stuffing the cool stuff his research turned up into the first book. Let’s start with the intricate mores of the era, the social rules that will amaze and baffle American PCs in Paris, luring them toward the sweet smell of scandal.
£53,000 – More Weird War Machinery
Stalkers, dragonflies and weeping mines just scratch the surface of the bizarre vehicles and armaments that thunder across the haunted battlefields of the Continental War. Fill the air, land and sea with more terrifying equipment for your players to flee from.
During the Aftermath, the ex-partisan PCs, in between confrontations with lingering forces of Carcosa, struggle to rebuild their tattered nation. In the process, they gather Chits and Hits, markers measuring their progress in post-rebellion politics. Enrich the game by increasing the page count of this all-important section.
All the books need more foes and creatures. So let’s start with the subliminally present, mind-twisting beings preying among the glittering clubs, cutting-edge restaurants and board game cafes of This Is Normal Now.
1895 Paris crawls with mystics, visionaries and hoaxsters. From early SF writer Camille Flammarion to synarchist Alexandre Saint-Yves, from pioneering troll Léo Taxil to Golden Dawn founders Moina and Samuel Liddell “MacGregor” Mathers, the city boasts more occultists than your players could possibly consult. Add them all to Paris by banishing this stretch goal to the Great Beyond.
Sure, we’ve covered the basics, from aerial strafing to mortar rounds. But as inventive GMs you won’t want to exhaust the many ways a squad from The Wars can march into a martial meatgrinder. Beef up the book’s selection of battle hazards by aiming your best artillery at this stretch goal.
As the ex-partisans of Aftermath strive to build a better world, and to cap a remaining monster or three, the path to victory lies in the investigation of the old regime. Deepen the sinister backstory of the Castaigne regime by prying open the hidden filing cabinets of this stretch goal.
Cursed images on social media. Reports of apocalyptic doom issuing from the pages of sober science journals. An army of trolls anxious to graduate from obscure online forums to the crushing reality of meatspace. No era feels madder than our own. Surpass this stretch goal and you can hold up the Shock cards to prove it, any of which can stick to your character in This is Normal Now.
From the ghostly, flame-bomb wielding petroleuses, hungering to avenge the slaughter of the Commune, to mad experimenters and soul moths, still more malign beings empowered by Carcosa’s touch demand to be included in Paris. Appease their wrath by puncturing the barrier between this stretch goal and our unwitting realm.
Having just wrapped a 14-session The Wars run with my in-house group, I can attest to a big, cordite-stained fact: it chews through fellow soldier Game Master characters like tomorrow isn’t coming. You’ll need more descriptions of oblivious officers, cowardly corporals and star-crossed sergeants than the alpha draft supplies. Buy The Wars bonds and tell this stretch goal to report to the conscription bureau!
£101,000: Wheeling and Dealing
GMs and players cry out for great examples but space for them can be hard to come by. I could really use the room for detailed case examples showing you how to connect Aftermath group objectives to the acquisition of Hits and Chits. Get us there with exemplary dedication to the goal of smashing through stretches.
104,000: The King Himself
Investigators in any of the settings can run into the King in Yellow, or the princesses of Carcosa, Cassilda and Camilla. So let’s put the section on meeting and dealing with them in This is Normal Now, which needs less space for setting than the other books. Whatever agenda GMs choose for these supernatural aliens, this new section shows how to deploy them for maximum menace. Genuflect to the tattered mantle by delivering this stretch goal unto the king.
Here we go, our most requested stretch goal. On publication of The Yellow King Roleplaying Game, we will add its new rules, including the player-facing combat system and Shock and Injury cards, to the GUMSHOE open source licenses. Buy Robin the time to wrangle the reference document and release these new approaches to the rules into the wild.
£110,000: Artists and Models
As young American would-be artists and writers on the loose in Belle Epoque Paris, your players want nothing more than to mingle with the creative legends of the era. Populate your city with such figures as mystical pianist and future dreamhound Erik Satie, young gossip columnist on the make Marcel Proust, retiring fellow Yankee Mary Cassatt and legendary can-can dancer La Goulue. Make sure you never run out of worthies by pushing us past this vermilion- and Burgundy-spattered stretch goal.
And hey look, here’s the next fifteen stretch goals we passed since this post first went up.
Our first quartet of creature features concludes with additional foes for The Wars. Meet the Carcosan beasties who have been changed by their contact with an earthly war zone—and the terrestrial inhabitants warped by the Hyades. Fund gravegrinders, walking memories of the fallen, your local duchess of death and of course the weeping mines by training your Loyalist-issue binoculars at this monstrous stretch goal.
£114,000: Government Lethal Chamber FAQ
If your players are anything like mine, your first Aftermath session will start with questions about the Government Lethal Chambers. Lots of questions. Established before the Castaignes took over in 1920 and still inexplicably in service after the revolution, they stand as a symbol of what still needs fixing. Arm yourself with all the answers by pushing the button on this bronze-bladed stretch goal.
£115,000: Carcosa Itself
The current text suggests that the heroes might wind up under the white sky of Carcosa, under the baleful glare of the Hyades. But it doesn’t yet have the space to detail the place or provide guidelines on how investigators from any of the four settings might survive there. Add material on this baleful setting to This Is Normal Now with a milestone that stretches before you like an ink-black lake.
£116,500: Cthulhu Crossover
The Yellow King Roleplaying Game conspicuously omits the Mythos elements that Lovecraft and Derleth layered onto the King in Yellow cycle. But let’s face it, gamers add Cthulhu to all sorts of games and genres and some of you might want to sneak in a shoggoth or two. If this stretch goal funds backers of all tiers above Dauber will receive a PDF featuring HPL’s public domain creatures, with foe profiles including associated Shock and Injury cards.
£117,500: At Ken’s Command
My partner in crime and podcast co-host Kenneth Hite has been strongly suggesting that I include certain of his favorite elements in the game. These range from the Belle Epoque photographer and balloonist Nadar to various creatures from Robert Chambers’ stories outside the Yellow King cycle. I’ve been telling Ken I don’t have the space, but if by surpassing this stretch goal you’ll rob me of that excuse, forcing me to accede to his imperious demands.
£119,000: 13th Age Crossover
Add some jaundiced reality horror to your 13th Age game with this crossover PDF depicting the King in Yellow as a Fallen Icon. Written by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan and developed by Rob Heinsoo, this slice of D20 Carcosa serves as an introduction for your fantasy RPG gamers into the infectious dread of the one whose mask is not a mask. Goes to all backers above the Dauber level.
£120,000: War Machine Schematics
As part of her preparatory process for the fabulous illustrations she’s creating for The Wars, artist Melissa Gay has created intriguing concept sketches depicting that setting’s weird war machinery. With a touch of added funding we can get her to develop these into visual schematics of such deadly devices as the Stalker and Dragonfly.
£121,000: Weapons of the Old Regime
You’ve seen the cambuk, brainstopper and mangler in the Aftermath preview. But these just skim the surface of the sinister armory assembled under a century of Carcosan influence by the Castaigne regime. Sure, as heroes of the revolution you overthrew the old tyrants. But more of their weird devices remain in circulation, and in the hands of people who don’t want their crimes uncovered by you. Fund this stretch goal for the full intel briefing, including relevant Shocks and Injuries.
£122,000: Story Arc Masterclass
We promised it and now we have it in the chute ready to deliver: expanded GM advice on weaving the investigators’ exploits across YKRPG’s four shattered, intertwined realities into one epic player-driven arc. Tie it all together with a bow and put it in This Is Normal Now by altering the current reality of this stretch goal.
£123,500: Music for the King
It’s not a Pelgrane Kickstarter without musical cues from arch composer James Semple. You can hear the sinister strain of his Yellow King Theme under our campaign video at the top of his page. It perfectly suits the bubbly yet ominous world of the Paris segment. Mob the studio for this stretch goal and he’ll compose a variation on the theme to introduce subsequent seasons of your game: martial for The Wars, majestic for Aftermath and electronic chill-out for This is Normal Now. Goes to all backers above the Dauber level.
£125,000: TimeWatch Crossover
At this funding level we will expose TimeWatch creator Kevin Kulp to the Yellow Sign, compelling him to write a campaign frame for his acclaimed, ENnie-nominated GUMSHOE RPG. This PDF goes to all backers above Dauber level.
The King in Yellow and his reality-warping minion spread their jaundiced fingers across the timestream, subverting and corrupting it. Agents are disappearing or worse, changing, reforged by paradox and disjunction, And now it’s spreading to the Citadel itself. The Agents must work alone to restore the timeline, defeat the King or just retain their own identities. But how will they know what’s real when the fabric of reality is changing around them?
£126,000: Cathedrals and Cemeteries
See that bit in the Paris preview file where the header labeled Cemeteries has nothing below it but the words Stretch Goal? Well, this is that goal—more space for the creepy and/or exalted corners of the city in which the art student investigators find clues, cadge cooperation from enigmatic informers, and perhaps get ambushed by a gargoyle or two. Escape from the catacombs of insufficient detail by placing this stretch goal in the collection plate.
£127,000: Terrifying Terrain
Making one chunk of battlefield memorably different than the last can be challenging when GMing off the cuff. This stretch goal adds 30 Battle Zones to The Wars. These quick snippets of narrative, like Establishing Shots from Trail of Cthulhu, give you just enough to paint a word picture of the environment and then get on with the horror. Fund this goal to hell up the heroes’ hellish landscape.
£128,500: Meet the New Cops
The investigators of Aftermath often find that their investigations into supernatural weirdness uncover the crimes both old and new. But with a tyrannical regime just six months in the rear view mirror, the law enforcement situation offers more questions than assurances. With new police forces divide equally between former guerrillas and the possible war criminals who used to hunt them, the Cop Talk ability has never been more vital. Pledges leading to the apprehension of this stretch goal will add more detail allowing you to portray PC interactions with local, state and federal police.
£130,500: Card Design Workshop
Go under the hood with this look at Shock and Injury card design, to appear in the expanded advice and notes section of This is Normal Now. Thinking of confronting your players with a creature or damaging situation not covered by the many cards supplied with the core game? Examine your options for creative status effect design, from penalties to narrative-forwarding discard conditions. Fund this level and your only Shocks will be shocks of delight!
£132,000: Dracula Dossier Crossover
In Paris, we discover that the reality-bending energies of Carcosa have awakened, strengthened or perhaps straight-up created vampires, releasing them from the pages of legend to stalk the world once more. Hey, come to think of it, you know what other beloved Pelgrane project features vampires of the 1890s? This stretch goal unleashes a Crossover PDF, available to all backers above the Dauber level, with foe profiles for all Dracula Dossier bloodsuckers who might conceivably show up in Paris in 1895. Also includes notes on treating a Dracula Dossier campaign you’ve already run as a previously unrevealed precursor to your Yellow King series. Sink your fangs into this stretch goal and make it your Renfield!
£134,000: Open License One-2-One
Although the systems differ in detail, the new features of The Yellow King Roleplaying Game owe their lineage to Robin’s design work on GUMSHOE One-2-One, as seen in Cthulhu Confidential. At Pelgrane we’re excited by the potential of our game for one GM and one player and want to share that as we have its sister branches of the GUMSHOE system. Fund this stretch goal to buy Robin the time to add the GUMSHOE One-2-One rules to the GUMSHOE open source reference document.
£135,000: Shadows of Brittany
In Chambers, and the work of other weird writers of the period, Brittany is the French region where the eerie happens. From its death-spirit, the Ankou, to its little people, the Korrigans, from haunted sorcerer skulls to the lost city of Ys, Breton folklore offers plenty of raw material for Carcosa to twist, and the art students of Paris to investigate. Fortify yourself on crêpes and galettes and take a run at this misty, coastal stretch goal.
£137,000: Naval Nightmares
Send your squad from The Wars to sea with this look at the Captain Nemo fever dreams plying the warlike seas of the Continental War. What could be scarier than tracking a series of murders on the deck of a cruiser surrounded by icebergs? Oh, I know what. How about being trapped on a submarine with something not quite human. Batten down the hatches and fire the torpedoes at this oceanic stretch goal.
£140,000: Ken’s Menagerie
After hitting the “At Ken’s Command” stretch goal, in which my podcast co-host and boon collaborator Kenneth Hite tells me a bunch of stuff he wants me to add and I have to include it, I discovered that he had way more ideas than my word budget for a single stretch goal permits. Specifically, he demands an entire zoo full of mutant animals for Aftermath, based on Robert W. Chambers’ cryptozoological stories. Pass the turnstile of this stretch goal and buy Ken and me a bigger boat. Or zoo, let’s say.
£143,000: Perfectly Normal Handouts
A band logo that incorporates the Yellow Sign. A disturbing infographic ripped from a corporate prospectus. A handbill for a club where the soultakers prowl. If we hit this stretch goal, document artiste extraordinaire Dean Engelhardt will take a break from his work on Absinthe in Carcosa to create 6 pages of modern handouts for This is Normal Now. NOTE TO ALL CAT TOBINS READING THIS: these will all appear in the book, and GMs will print them out from their PDFs, no actual physical document creation or tea-staining required.
£147,000: Esoterrorists Crossover
Import Outer Dark Entities from The Esoterrorists into your Yellow King Roleplaying Game series. This PDF presentS YRKPG-style foe profiles for the 12 appalling creatures found in the 2nd Edition rules for our original GUMSHOE horror game. From those feral kids, the Kooks, to the not-so-angelic Host, they’re all waiting to imperil your investigators, newly powered by the Yellow Sign. Goes to all backers above the Dauber level.
£151,000: Police and Thieves
Art students engaged in supernatural intrigue in Paris will want to steer well clear of the city’s criminal underworld, and the gendarmes who police it. Until they need assistance of either the underhanded or official variety, that is. Add such crooks and cops as the master heist artist Colonel Caoutchouc, tireless Alsatian magistrate Paul Dopffer, and forensic pioneer Alphonse Bertillon, inventor of the mug shot. Subject this stretch goal to the third degree until it gives up the goods!
£155,000: The Other Three Horsemen
The current list of Battle Hazards seen in The Wars leans heavily toward the explosive and obvious: land mines, artillery shells, and good old fashioned bullets. But many of the worst horrors of battle come at you inexorably: hunger, disease, and ebbing morale. In a world where these forces gain conscious volition from the reality-shattering intrusions of Carcosa, you’re going to need a raft of Shock and Injury cards to keep the squad restless in its foxhole. Blow the whistle, shout your commands, and send this stretch goal over the top!
£159,000: The Castaigne Files
The ex-partisan investigators of Aftermath find many of their crucial clues in the documents their toppled foes, the Hussars of the Castaigne regime, failed to burn in the final days of revolution. Fund this stretch goal to recruit document artist Dean Engelhardt to work his magic on 6 pages of handouts. His evocative pieces of Castaignabilia will appear in beautiful color in the book. Hit this goal and you’ll be able to print them out from your core game PDFs to add atmospheric exposition to your game.
£163,000: Contemporary Creeps
Does This is Normal Now have enough insidious creatures? Why, no, we’ve barely scratched the surface. Add such menaces as the insistent scratcher, the inescapable follower, and the implacable eraser to your rogues gallery of modern monsters. You don’t want any of them to follow you on social media, but if you hit this stretch goal you can trap them all between the pages of a beautiful game book.
£167,000: Gallic Grotesqueries
As we enter the waning days of this Kickstarter, it’s time we all admitted something to ourselves. We still want more monsters. Add another tranche of creatures to haunt the Belle Epoque pages of Paris, from the otherworldly egregore to the lethally ethereal dames blanche. Is that cat that keeps coming around for milk really a matagot? Find out by pushing on through to the other side of this très monstrueux stretch goal.