The Duke of Pestilence

A scenario hook for Yellow King: The Wars

Having learned of their weird knack for solving problems, particularly when the problems too are weird, the squad’s commanding officer gives them a top secret assignment.

Supply convoys carrying medicines from home front to battlefront have been under attack. Well, not obvious attack, specifically. But somehow morphine, antibiotics, plasma and other needed supplies are arriving spoiled, adulterated, or outright poisoned. Or simply going missing altogether. This happens deep within Loyalist territory. If enemy special forces are behind the sabotage, they’re leaving no trace of their movements or encampments.

The trusted military couriers working the supply convoys have been interrogated, but cannot account for the losses and damage. Some wish to speak only of their dreams, or mutter curious oaths about the beauty of destruction. Others can’t speak at all, instead drawing pictures of a red princess and her lieutenant, a duke with a skull for a face.

Depending on their weird war so far, the squad may identify the princess as Camilla, one of the two princesses of Carcosa. In the strange game the alien royals play, Camilla awards herself points for causing bloodshed and physical suffering.

An obvious but dangerous way into the mystery presents itself: the squad must take on the role of couriers. Whatever comes for the shipments will come for them.

While in Paris to pick up the shipment, the squad can look for the intelligence leak allowing the enemy to identify the shipments. Within the army’s logistics department they can draw out corporal Ulysse Lapierre, who went over to the red princess’ side after reading the play. After giving him false details of their departure time and route, they can watch as he uses an appalling ritual to contact his supernatural patron. He cuts open his hand, concentrates on the message he wishes to send, and drips his blood into an altered boîtenoire.

Sending Lapierre off to court martial and firing squad offers a temporary solution, but leaves the skull-faced duke in play.

Does the squad decide to follow the route Lapierre betrayed to the duke, in order to find and confront him?

The traitor tells them that soldiers on both sides of the conflict are dying at a higher rate than they otherwise would due to his presence on Earth.

If they find and defeat the Duke of Pestilence, they will bring the rate of disease back to ordinary levels, saving perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives. But as a noble of Carcosa he’s no easy quarry.

Numbers: 1

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

Difficulty Adjustments: -1 for each First Aid success scored on your way to meet him (max -3); -1 if you have gained the blessing of a Carcosan noble who opposes him

Toll: 2

Tags: Carcosan

Encounter Style: Primary

Injuries, Minor and Major: Muscle Cramps / Rapid Dehydration

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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