Yellow Sign Cult
Sandy Petersen's Cthulhu Mythos - Pathfinder
Cultists of the Yellow Sign tend to have an artistic temperament, and to view their horrible master, the King in Yellow, as the ultimate performance artist. They see the destruction and havoc he wreaks as a great display, and in a sense, they are absolutely correct. Of course, only the cultists are fully able to appreciate the king’s creativity.

Many Yellow Sign cultists are cunningly insane: deceptively refined serial killers and urbane sociopaths. Often they only “realize” that they are devoted to the Yellow Sign after years of compulsive cruelty, often in the name of art.

The Yellow Sign gives cultists free rein to their whims while the cult provides aid for their goals and machinations.

The King in Yellow is among the most accessible of all the Great Old Ones, and his cultists enjoy a great deal of his personal patronage. Wise beyond belief and unusually attentive to his followers, the King in Yellow appears periodically at cult services or the doorsteps of those who believe in him, ready to dispense gifts or knowledge. He might leave a single pot of paint with a cultist or group, that they might create the perfect color for their mural. He might instead leave a small razor, for use in carving away the body feature that prevents their loved one’s physical perfection.

Exploiting their madness, the King in Yellow often communicates with cultists in ways undetectable to sane individuals. For example, a cultist might derive meaning from a random phrase overheard on the street, from the direction that a bird flies overhead, or from the distorted shape of a tree’s shadow in the late afternoon. Or perhaps what the cultist interprets becomes the King’s intent. It’s hard to say because to a follower of the King in Yellow, madness, reality, and art become one.

The King’s unholy text is also a play, simply entitled The King in Yellow (see Mythos Grimoires). Either reading the play or watching it performed can lead to madness and worship of the King. Those aware of the danger it poses are constantly at risk of being exposed to the Yellow Sign and being magically compelled to serve the King in Yellow, since it is easy to create and innocuous to the uninitiated.


The Yellow Sign is not as tightly-organized as many cults. Cultists occasionally meet in groups for activities other than worship, as signaled to them through the King’s insane mental dramas. For instance, a cultist might realize that his cat’s persistent meowing for food is a call from the King, while another might hear the summons by looking closely at the pattern formed by wine she accidentally spilled.

The Yellow Sign does not have persistent cult leaders. When they meet, regardless of how they came together this time or originally, one of them naturally takes the lead. This may be a different cultist each time. Usually, the person who takes over is the one most suited for the task at hand. For instance, if they need to capture a yithian-possessed person and torture him for information, a cultist who has a deep sadistic nature might become the leader. If they have to organize a performance of the King’s play, the most artistically-inclined might take over instead.

Because of the King in Yellow’s foreknowledge, he can send his cultists to seek out and extract wisdom from other beings. For example, they make a regular practice of hunting down those possessed by the great race of yith and also round up non-humanoids for creative torture. Even ghouls and deep ones fear being taken by the Yellow Sign’s cult, whose ingenuity and extravagance in causing pain is beyond compare.

Yellow Sign Cult Gifts

  • Commune with the King: The King himself, at his pleasure, can give the cultists information, useful items, or direction. Usually, this is not in person, but one might, for example, recognize the King’s handiwork in something scrawled on a wall.
  • Desecration: Creative atrocities can cause the King in Yellow to manifest and bless cultists and their activities.
  • Passion: When cultists focus on something (spellcasting, an objet d’art, a dance, or the like), their concentration often consumes them. They favor the Mad Passion feat (see Mythos Feats).
  • The Pallid Mask: A cultist can become an avatar of the King in Yellow by wearing the Pallid Mask. After an avatar has departed or been destroyed, a lesser pallid mask remains behind.
  • Third Eye: Cultists are able to see other realms more easily than others, either in divinely-granted glimpses or by way of the Third Eye Masterpiece bardic masterpiece, and only their madness helps them comprehend what they see. This also tends to make Yellow Sign cultists take actions that seem even more bizarre and crazy to those who only exist in the normal plane of existence.
  • Treasures: Cultists often have access to clithni, the lamp of Alhazred, pigments from Yuggoth, selenine, and wine of Pnoth.

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