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Hastur/King in yellow suggestions.


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I've just introduced some reluctant Dnd5e friends to call of cthulhu and they are loving it. Dubious at first because they had played a single game in the past and didn't really enjoy it too much but by the sounds of it, their keeper had no idea/very little experience and loved my game. 

I ran darkness beneath the hill for them but threw in some dreams of my own for them and dropped them the yellow sign. 

Looking for suggestions on what to run next for them. Preferably something available on drive through as we are using roll20 and it's easier to make handouts from pdfs than having to buy the books and scan stuff. Preferably something that would last a good few sessions but not a full blown campaign like tatters. 

 

Thanks in advance. 

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4 hours ago, Reaver said:

I've just introduced some reluctant Dnd5e friends to call of cthulhu and they are loving it. Dubious at first because they had played a single game in the past and didn't really enjoy it too much but by the sounds of it, their keeper had no idea/very little experience and loved my game. 

I ran darkness beneath the hill for them but threw in some dreams of my own for them and dropped them the yellow sign. 

Looking for suggestions on what to run next for them. Preferably something available on drive through as we are using roll20 and it's easier to make handouts from pdfs than having to buy the books and scan stuff. Preferably something that would last a good few sessions but not a full blown campaign like tatters. 

 

Thanks in advance. 

If you want the classic setting then The Haunting is a no brainer. It's made for newbies and is plenty creepy. Plus there are loads of ideas and resources on the net for it. If you are okay with a modern setting I would suggest Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Home though I would caution you to remind the players that sacrifices sometimes have to be made and if they aren't in to that I would avoid Ladybug.

Edited by rsanford
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58 minutes ago, rsanford said:

If you want the classic setting then The Haunting is a now brainer.

Seconding The Haunting.  Plus, if you like Hastur/King in Yellow, there's reskinned version of it that recasts the antagonist as a Hastur cultist (the mechanics are for the Trail of Cthulhu RPG, but the atmospheric touches are easy enough to adopt for CoC).

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I loved running Crimson Letters (which is found in the Keeper Guidebook) but it seems as though you specifically want Hastur the Unnameable... 

Ripples from Carcosa is a great one (or so I've heard) for the infamous Yellow King!

The description reads as follows:

O do not seek to learn or even ask,
What horror hides behind...The Pallid Mask!
--Lin Carter, Litany to Hastur

OF ALL THE VARIED and mysterious Great Old Ones of the Cthulhu Mythos, few ensnare the imagination as easily as Hastur. The image of the silent, deserted city beside a dark, foreboding lake where sinister things lurk is one that stays with the reader. Many of us have walked the twisting streets of that dead alien city in our minds, finding our way into the tall towers to stand before an ancient throne. There sits the King in Yellow, the Lord of Carcosa, who gazes at us from behind his Pallid Mask. It is a journey many of us have taken, whether alone in our dreams or around a table rolling dice with our friends. It is a journey we are about to take again.

Ripples from Carcosa seeks to expand upon the mythology of He Who Should Not Be Named and it gathers much of the varied material on Hastur into one place. The first chapter reviews the Great Old One Hastur and his various avatar forms. It examines the Yellow Sign, the play The King in Yellow, the Mythos tome of the same name, and the effects these things have on the human mind.

Within these pages are a trio of adventures pitting the investigators against Hastur and his human worshippers, playable as either stand-alone scenarios or as a linked campaign, called Ripples from Carcosa. Each scenario focuses on a specific time period: Roman Invictus, Dark Ages, or the End Times of the far future. Pre-generated investigators are provided for each scenario, although keepers should feel free to incorporate existing player investigators if so desired.

Across space and time, the King in Yellow reaches out... Dare you look upon his pallid mask?

 

Here's the link: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/138396/Ripples-From-Carcosa?term=king+in+yellow&filters=44826_0_0_0_0 

The PDF is $10:95 and 130 pages of content. I think you could reskin the scenarios to be different times if you wanted, happy Yellow King hunting:)

 

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If you can get your hands on it, "Tell Me, Have You Seen The Yellow Sign?" from Tales from the Crescent City sounds like a good fit. It definitely should last you multiple sessions and can then be followed up by its sequel in the same book. However I don't think it is on roll20, so might require more work on your end.

Alternatively, as they are coming from DnD and you have already run them one very action focused scenario, Dead Light could work well.

Edited by smithh65
removed repetition
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  • 2 weeks later...

True Detective Season 1 contained references to the Yellow King;

https://nerdist.com/article/true-detective-yellow-king-carcosa-first-season-lovecraft/

The insane antagonist thought he had supernatural powers, and it was really well played, he certainly displayed unusual abilities like insane strength, and the handful of victims who survived needed serious psychiatric help. You were never quite sure if he did have supernatural powers or was simply delusional, even at the very end.

Major spoiler, final scenes; the protagonists discover "carcosa"

Major warning, the episodes in series one include disturbing references to child abuse.

Edited by EricW
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I’ve also been wanting to run something with the King in Yellow. Two Chaosium books I know of focused specifically on Hastur are the aforementioned Ripples from Carcosa as well as Tatters of the King. The latter is a 6th edition book so you’ll have to do some conversions. smithh65 also mentioned “Tell Me, Have You Seen the Yellow Sign?” The updated version in Tales from the Crescent City isn’t on DriveThruRPG but the original version from The Great Old Ones, a series of modules for 4th edition, is. However, if you just want to get a copy of Tales through DTRPG for a digital copy to make handouts, you can always go to Golden Goblin Press’s website. They have digital and hard copies. Another book on DTRPG is John Wick’s Curse of the Yellow Sign.

Personally, I’ve been toying with the idea of retooling “A Night at the Opera” from Tales from the Sleepless City into a Hastur story, swapping the opera house for a theatre, switching “Massa di Requiem per Shuggay” for “The King in Yellow”, and Azathoth for Hastur. Unfortunately that collection isn’t on DTRPG either.

 

Golden Goblin Press’ Tales of the Crescent City

https://www.goldengoblinpress.com/store/#!/Tales-of-the-Crescent-City-Adventures-in-Jazz-Era-New-Orleans-Digital-Download/p/37692597/category=6641143

Edited by davewire
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4 hours ago, davewire said:

Another book on DTRPG is John Wick’s Curse of the Yellow Sign.

I hope Hastur has not been kicking any puppies, because otherwise, no yellow sign is going to stop John Wick from blowing him to kingdom come.

4 hours ago, davewire said:

Personally, I’ve been toying with the idea of retooling “A Night at the Opera” from Tales from the Sleepless City into a Hastur story, swapping the opera house for a theatre, switching “Massa di Requiem per Shuggay” for “The King in Yellow”, and Azathoth for Hastur. Unfortunately that collection isn’t on DTRPG either.

Also, now I have the image of the Phantom of the Opera trying to ruin Hastur's plays so that more people will go to the opera instead. Might be an interesting scenario.

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3 hours ago, Old Man Henerson said:

I hope Hastur has not been kicking any puppies, because otherwise, no yellow sign is going to stop John Wick from blowing him to kingdom come.

Also, now I have the image of the Phantom of the Opera trying to ruin Hastur's plays so that more people will go to the opera instead. Might be an interesting scenario.

Well, John Wick of 7th Sea fame, but I can understand the confusion. :D

Also, that’s exactly how my plans to use “A Night at the Opera” initially came about. My brother had made an offhand comment about “The Phantom of the Opera” and it got me thinking of a Hastur cultist in a pallid mask terrorizing a theatre and forcing the actors to put on an operatic rendition of “The King in Yellow” to call Hastur from the stars as Aldebaran burns brighter and brighter up above.

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Something else I’ve been pondering: I don’t know much about Pelgrane Press’ GUMSHOE system but I’m certain I’ve seen 3rd party modules that listed both Call of Cthulhu and GUMSHOE as interchangeable game systems. I also have heard that their “Trail of Cthulhu” game is a licensed modification to Chaosium’s CoC made for their GUMSHOE rules.

This leads me to wonder if their game “The Yellow King” and the Trail or Cthulhu module “The Repairer of Reputations” can be adapted (with some ease at least) to CoC. Again, I’ve never played either of these nor have I even read or played the GUMSHOE rules, but I’m curious enough to look into it.

The one major caveat I’ve found in my brief overview is that the GUMSHOE system requires that the GM always allows the player to find clues provided that they use the prerequisite skill whereas in CoC, this is not always the case as players can fail a roll. However, I think if, with a pushed roll, a player still fails, then they find a clue but suffer a complication.

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Yes, you can convert CoC and ToC/Gumshoe scenarios.  Admittedly, this takes a little effort since they're entirely different skill-based systems (it's not like converting between CoC and Delta Green, which are both d100 systems).  The ToC rulebook has an appendix on conversion, and the Pelgrane website's ToC resource page contains examples of converted stats/plotlines for published CoC scenarios.  

Pelgrane's Repairer of Reputations is a ToC scenario and well worth looking into. It's a great example of how Chambers's weird horror differs from HPL's and treats the meta-game quite inventively.  The Yellow King RPG runs a modified and simplified version of Gumshoe, however.  This would be much harder to convert to CoC—you'd have to homebrew a lot of it.  Its campaign's opening 1895 Paris setting could be translated to 1920s CoC easily enough.  The other stages in later decades are tied to its overall theme of the forces of Carcosa warping time and reality.  It's fascinating material, but it doesn't lend itself to ongoing campaigns.

As for Gumshoe as an investigative RPG, it's a pool-based game of resource management.  Although players always find basic clues automatically, they have to spend their limited points for more detailed or secret information.  There's no equivalent of a "success with complication" in it (the separate Gumshoe One-2-One system has its own version of "pushes" unrelated to CoC's.)  In BRP, the suspense comes from each risked die roll; in Gumshoe, it's from the slowly dwindling amount of points as the plot unfolds.  Gumshoe rarely goes off the rails or suffers blocked bottlenecks, but I sometimes miss the randomness of BRP and the improvisation it requires.

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