The reality of the final This is Normal Now sequence of The Yellow King Roleplaying Game dials up or down in weirdness. In its more openly unreal modes, Ironic Normal and Normalcy Shift, new quasi-Carcosan lifeforms stalk the land. The most terrifying of these are the deadly rampagers, which come in various shapes and sizes. People go about their daily lives hoping never to encounter one, employing techniques of fearsome mental discipline to keep them out of mind whenever possible.
Likewise they train themselves to tune out the changing shapes and behaviors of everyday animals.
The phenomenon goes beyond Bandits, urban animals transformed into low-level minions of Carcosa (This Is Normal Now p. 42.)
It’s easier to take shots of mutating animals. Several cities have experienced waves of morphologically altered rats. Scaly, sometimes armored, sometimes horned, they scurry underfoot in major subway systems, and can be seen swarming the tracks or hauling pieces of pizza to their lairs. Some specimens don’t scurry at all, but ooze along surfaces with snail-like locomotion. The blobrats, as they have been dubbed, are unpleasantly friendly, coming up to commuters to beg for morsels of food. They will stand on hind legs and stick little claws into your trousers, cocking their heads and emitting a high peeping sound. Those who listen hard enough say that the noises they make are starting to sound like words: “Naotalba! Thale! Aldones!” This invites an obvious retort: those aren’t words at all.
Birds haven’t changed much, but they do fall from the sky without warning. SBD, Sudden Bird Death, has been studied to little avail by environmental researchers. While fossil fuel lobbyists blame wind turbines, crackpots claim that murmurations of Carcosan energy swirls through the sky, especially at dusk and dawn. Birds are learning to avoid them, but occasionally they strike solid bits in the air at the wrong angle and come crashing down, as if having struck nonexistent skyscraper windows.
It is the insects that worry the knowing observer most of all. Mosquitoes now whisper insinuatingly. Worms rear up and hiss at you when you near them after a summer rain. If you’ve read the play, or simply spoken to someone who heard that an acquaintance did, you may walk home and pass ants forming themselves spontaneously into the central squiggle figure of the Yellow Sign.
As you so often do these days, you tell yourself, “This is Normal Now.”
The Yellow King Roleplaying Gametakes 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.