A Foe for The Yellow King Roleplaying Game

Mixed into tattoo ink, water from the dark lake of Hali does more than achieve a richness of black tone unavailable from terrestrial pigments. It transforms the tattoo recipient into a sleeper agent for the King and his court.

The magic inherent in the tattoo remains dormant until the bearer encounters someone who stands in Carcosa’s way.

If the tattoo’s host is already in a place of relative privacy where an attack stands a good chance of success, it immediately transforms into its full form, as an inkstained.

This interdimensional being adopts an outward form inspired by the tattoo design. A dragon tattoo emerges as a swirling draconic entity, as seen above. A mermaid tattoo manifests as a shifting amalgam of human and fish. A deck of cards design sends aces and kings fatally slicing into its victims. If the bearer had his mother memorialized on his back, the inkstained manifests as an awful, ogre parody of the dear departed.

Whatever the form, it subjects its victim to an attack of transdimensional form. This matches the tattoo’s theme: the dragon belches flame, the mermaid rakes with scaly fingers, the ogre gulps its prey with a monstrous swallow.

When an immediate attack would attract attention that might prevent it from achieving its mission, the entity waits, remaining latent. It psychically impels its host to stalk the victim until the opportunity to pounce occurs. Hosts act with their existing knowledge and resources, never questioning why they’re suddenly hunting down a person they randomly bumped into.

The king’s ire can be unpredictable. Sometimes he destroys those who read the play. The latent entity might be triggered by the presence of someone who has done that. Sometimes the king aids those who have read the play as they conspire against humanity. In such cases the inkstained targets witting or unwitting obstacles to an ongoing Yellow Sign conspiracy.

After a successful murder, the entity retreats into the host, inspiring them to take self-protective action. Depending on circumstances, hosts might calmly walk away from the scene, or stick around to minutely clean it up. A latent inkstained wants to survive in its host to kill again, perhaps taking some vicarious pleasure in the host’s ordinary life in the meantime. What it won’t tolerate is any attempt to remove the tattoo, an action that destroys it permanently.

Inkstained manifestations have occurred during past eruptions of Carcosan activity. Investigators plumbing obscure lore discover that the way to recover from an attack is to get a tattoo matching the original host’s design—or to destroy the entity permanently.

Numbers: 1

Difficulty: Superior (Escape 3, Other 4, Kill 6)

Difficulty Adjustments: -1 if someone in your group is carrying Lake Hali tattoo ink; -1 for each previous encounter with an inkstained; +1 if you have read the play; +1 if you are the person in your group the king (or other Carcosan ultimately responsible for the tattoo) most despises

Toll: 2

Tags: Carcosan

Injuries, Minor and Major: Ink-Lashed/Ink-Slashed



+1 to all Tolls. -1 to Physical tests.

Discard by getting a permanent tattoo in a design reminiscent of the attack.


Injury; Continuity

+1 to all Tolls. -1 to Physical tests.

Discard when the entity that did this to you is destroyed.


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.

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