Today's post is about the King in Yellow, the mythical play from the Robert Chambers story that supposedly drives anyone insane who reads it. The idea has been coopted by the Lovecraft mythos and appears in the Call of Cthulhu rpg and Arkham Horror board game. I find the idea that a work of art can drive someone insane to be fascinating. I read a quote once about how art exists to express what we cannot say. The link between art and emotion is strong, and I believe that there could be a a work of art that could break down the sanity of an individual.
As a gaming device the King in Yellow is a great MacGuffin. A group of investigators can be searching for a manuscript that causes people to go crazy. Not only do they have to search for a book, but they also have to deal with the wackos that the book leaves in its wake. If you are interested in reading the book The King in Yellow, it is in the public domain. You can grab an electronic copy off of Project Gutenberg.