My Dreams of the Yellow King is finally out, and it’s one of my assignments that I’ve liked the most. I had to do a lot of research into H.P. Lovecraft’s works to give it the right tone, and a fan of Lovecraft will see lots of sections that hit the same tones. I wanted to touch on some of these, but…


….there be spoilers ahead!


Much of the adventure takes place in the Dreamlands, a section of the Dimension of Dreams with some consistent geography, much of which is taken from Lovecraft’s writings. I was able to put several scenes in the adventure, each taking place in the Dreamlands, and most touching upon Lovecraft’s works (such as the lengthy but excellent Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath). Here they are!

The Forsaken Caravanserai isn’t a specific Lovecraft location, but its air of abandonment and faded glory seemed to fit with the types of structures dreamers in the Dreamlands find. This functions as sort of a "home base," but not one that is consistent or stable--as the later appearance of the creepy Mister Wanderlust shows.

The Viscount’s Gala wasn’t originally from any Lovecraft inspiration; it was actually from a nightmare I had personally. James Jacobs suggested it would fit well in Celephais, so I researched that city and added a few additional elements to the encounter, particularly the timelessness characteristic of that city. I’m pleased that this particular encounter has gotten some very glowing praise so far!

The Enchanted Wood is a place in the Dreamlands already, and it’s populated with creatures called zoogs (as here). I decided to make the forest gigantic in size all on my own; there’s no indication in Lovecraft that it’s not an ordinary-sized forest, but I took some liberties here. I liked the fact that I was able to use the zoog preference for feline flesh, which also references Lovecraft’s The Cats of Ulthar.

The nameless necropolis and the Plaza of Bones aren’t specifically drawn from Lovecraft, but the underground wars between gugs and ghouls are referenced in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. The PCs, like the protagonist Randolph Carter in that story, ally with the ghouls against the gugs. This was the most “required” of the dream encounters, as I had to have an encounter to match the cover art for this adventure (which had already been ordered).

Sarnath is the site of the haunting Lovecraft story The Doom That Came to Sarnath; I thought a scene right at the city’s last, hedonistic night would be a memorable encounter. Perhaps more memorable is that I got to use the Great Old One lurking in the nameless lake—which is actually Bokrug, by best accounts—as an opponent for PCs that dally!

The encounter with Quaveandra in the drug den actually came from an improvised encounter in one of the games I was running at the time. The PCs needed to get information from an unsavory but wealthy merchant in a drug den. They learned from the merchant that someone in his entourage wanted to assassinate him and he tasked them with finding out which of his minions it was. When the PCs found out, they actually opted to help the assassin and take out the odious merchant. I wanted to make sure that was an option in this encounter, as well. James Jacobs made the great suggestion that this scene should be set in the rough city of Dylath-Leen, a fixture of Lovecraft’s Dreamlands.

The Oukranos scene is intended to mimic the “but it was all a nightmare!” trope, complete with allies transforming into enemies, foes that jump right behind you, and so on. Even the ship itself (now called the Bloodwind, but called the Moon-bound in my turnover) has malignant intelligence like Chucky or other “evil items” of horror fiction. Plus it allowed me to stat up an intelligent folding boat, which was awesome.

Arventon, the ceramic necropolis, is entirely my own invention. It has a tragic but mysterious backstory that is intentionally left unexplained in this adventure. James Jacobs thought it was a good addition to the Dreamlands, which I took as high praise.

The Lunar Prison is probably the sort of place Randolph Carter would have ended up when he was kidnapped and taken to the moon in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath; fortunately for Carter, he was rescued before meeting this fate. I wanted it to be a bleak, sterile, horrible place, but there isn’t a lot of exciting adventure to be found in a place like that. I therefore created dueling moon-beasts vying for control over the prison. The setting was partially lifted from an adventure idea sitting in my notebook that never went anywhere; a clockwork prison where the clockworks have malfunctioned and some of the prisoners are loose.