Our sample outline of an Aftermath series continues with more capsule scenario concepts. Start here if you missed Part One.
It Came From the Bronx Park Zoo
The team probes the shudder-inducing secrets of this experimental Castaigne regime creature hybridization facility. A sapient ex-subject might support itself by acting as a hired assassin, or seek revenge on those who destroyed the only home it ever knew. Or they might come to the insurgents with a tip on the scientist who brought them into tortuous existence. He plans to use the group to find his quarry, then exact retribution that does not involve the Truth and Reconciliation Committee.
The Wars and Aftermath take place in the same alternate reality, meaning that the strange weapons and creatures of the 1947 Continental War can still be found in collections and institutions. In my game, I referenced this with a plotline involving weapons smuggling by the impoverished curators of a war museum shuttered by the revolution. You might invoke your own Wars sequence more directly, by bringing back a loathed and feared enemy, or descendant thereof. Or you could give your bad guys access to a walker or dragonfly and have them wreak havoc with it in New York City.
Teens in a devastated neighborhood respond to lawless conditions by forming into gangs. At first they engage in penny ante beefing over turf, with little serious criminal involvement. However when a cache of weird weapons from the old regime falls into their possessions, matters escalate, requiring the aid of the team. Even if they find out who’s distributing the cambuks and brainstoppers, can they turn the gang instigators around before they commit themselves to short, desperate lives of violence and reprisal?
Pallid Hand Callback
The Carcosan big bad you established earlier uses cut-outs to safely contact the ex-insurgents. Their interests and his have momentarily aligned. He provides information to point them toward a mutual enemy. Taking this individual out will advance their Goal—but also his. Can they help themselves without helping him—or at least avoid the double cross he blatantly telegraphs?
This reliable trope works with any running villain that may have developed so far.
Politics and Policy
A previous ally at the People’s Congress defects to a rival faction whose agenda rungs counter to the group’s Goal. The shift is so sudden, so unexplained, and the affect of the erstwhile ally so off-key that the team can only suspect otherworldly influence. Was it caused by a creature, a drug, or a spell, and to what end? More importantly, how does the team reverse the effect and regain this essential allegiance?
If the group wants to keep the Government Lethal Chambers open, someone starts bombing them.
If they want them closed, someone starts repairing them—even building new ones, with the structures appearing fully operational as if from nowhere.
Are they neutral on the chambers? They’ll still want to stop a creature using its psychic influence to lure more people into them, so it can feast on the grief of their relatives.
Secrets of the Castaignes
A fugitive advisor to the Emperor wants to come in from the cold, appearing before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and serving whatever reduced sentence they choose to hand down. She’s already working on her memoir, packed with juicy details of the decadent old regime. But plenty of people don’t want her testimony to come out, from former colleagues to moles now presenting themselves as revolutionary heroes. The team gains a valuable favor toward their Goal if they get the advisor from her current safe house to the authorities, running a gauntlet of deadly opposition.
Any halfway realistic political game can instill a sense of frustration in players from time to time. Break this up by bringing in a creature in need of finding and killing. At the end, they discover that someone they’ve saved from it wields political heft and rewards them with a key favor.
Borrow overtly weird creatures, like gargoyles, from a previous sequence, or go full kaiju with a thermosaur or ux.
Where the player character ex-insurgents went into politics, some of their comrades have chosen a stickier but less complicated post-overthrow occupation. They clean up the mess left by the regime and the civil war. Some assignments find them abating ordinary damage, from a century of environmental neglect, general infrastructure decay, or the bombs and bullets of the overthrow.
Other tasks involve the weird residue of Carcosan energy. When members of one crew start vanishing in an abandoned tenement slated for refurbishment, the investigators leap in. Does the problem originate in that green goo running down the walls? The tormented faces incised into the elevator door? Or is it the growing mass of milky white egg sacs down in the furnace room?
Doorway to Normal
Foreshadow the existence of the alternate timeline of This Is Normal Now with a scenario that relies on your player’s knowledge of their own reality. In my game, they investigated the deaths of apparently unconnected ordinary people, discovering that they were powerful subjects for occult sacrifice because they were hugely famous in an adjacent dimension.
Alternately, the characters might run across tech that exists in our world but not in Aftermath’s, confront a reality-hopping enemy who has met them as ordinary schlubs, or pursue that foe into an America that never fell into the grip of the Yellow Sign conspiracy.
Gate Reopening Climax
The clearest way to end your Aftermath sequences is with an attack on the People’s Congress, which turns out to be a diversion to distract the ex-insurgents and other security forces. The real objective: once again throwing open the gates to Carcosa. It’s not a cliché if you’re doing it for the first time.
With the end of Aftermath reached, that leaves the final sequence, This is Normal Now, to sketch out, starting with the next installment of See Page XX.
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.