Madness brings clarity, if not perspective.


Twelve dead bodies have been discovered in a bustling coastal city over the last eighteen months. Their causes of death are varied, but they share some common elements: they are all in their late twenties to early thirties, they possessed extremely active social media accounts, esoterica-influenced tattoos, and stridently conservative political opinions.   

An independent researcher, DANICA RICHARDS, tasked with a last-ditch effort to catalogue the bodily markings of outstanding homicide victims, discovered that nearly all of these victims had fresh tattoos, apparently by the same artist. Designs from the tattoos recur over and over with each victim: masks, shifting and twisting abstract designs, and shrouded figures predominate, all sourced from an obscure Italian adaptation of the King in Yellow. Having witnessed the corrosive influence of _Le Roi en Jaune_ on a damp night in 2008, she contacted her handler in the Program.

The Agents’ orders: 
Find and destroy the primary incursion vector, as well of all evidence of its existence.


There are no local Program personnel available to brief the Agents. That task falls to Danica, who has little to say at first, meeting them in a dingy cafe near the morgue. She presses the existing files and photos of the victims into the Agents' hands, and offers to help in any way she can. The number she gives them is a burner. Due to her inexperience, she will rush headlong into danger to back them up, making her another potent threat to the Agents' prospective coverup.


The killings are a form of improvised human sacrifice, undertaken to power esoteric rituals by a collective of activists who call themselves THE DUN SET. Unusually enough, these hypergeometric rituals have been created whole cloth. 

BECKY MORNINGSTAR (@moaningstar), a vocal activist and founder of THE DUN SET, began investigating witchcraft and the occult as an ironic hobby. Unfortunately for her and her social circle, Becky took a wrong turn somewhere in the fractal warren of tumblr and found a cinephile blog which detailed the little-known Italian adaptation of the King in Yellow. The blurry screenshots and excerpts took hold of her imagination. 

She became reclusive and strange, her tweets and behaviour growing more acerbic and violent with each passing day until she was finally banned under the site’s new terms of service.


After meeting in the dingy basement of a church to organize a leftist political rally, a small group of freshly-graduated young professionals began to meet for Buffy nights and mutual support in a politically unstable time. Two years ago, the group threw a Halloween party where they dressed as their witch online personas and christened themselves The Dun Set. The evidence is available on their respective Instagram profiles, where they seem happy and well-adjusted, if a little tipsy. 

The members of the coven today seem quite similar to those pictures at first, but if kept talking for long enough, they exhibit restless behaviour and nervous tics. There are deep bags under their eyes, inexpertly hidden, and they are impatient with their interviewer, claiming to have important business to attend to. 

Over the past two years, an increasing frustration and pervasive feeling of helplessness stole over the once-sure group. PETRA WILLIAMSON (see below) parted ways with the coven soon after the Halloween party, and her departure left a gap in the group's dynamic. 

Anxious, sleepless, and inflamed with fury at Petra's perceived betrayal, Becky spent more and more of her time escaping by scrolling through the endless expanse of social media, delving ever deeper in her search for distraction. She found the title card from _Il Re in Giallo_, and suddenly everything became clear to her. She posted it to their shared private messaging conversation, flush with excitement and certainty.

Not long after, they started luring targets of opportunity to the home of the tattoo artist in the coven, MARY FORTNIGHT (@fortmary), who would inscribe designs from the _Il Re in Giallo_ into their flesh. The bodies would then turn up in alleys around the city, covered in garish pentagrams and other obvious pop occult costume. The Dun Set are convinced that eliminating these people according to Becky's direction will change the world, and they are right - in that acting according to Becky's irrepressibly bloody creative impulses worsens the encroachment of Carcosa into our reality.


Petra Williamson (@petragliph), 23, parted ways with the Dun Set over pre-incursion ideological differences. She is the one best suited to lead the Agents to Becky, but not the only avenue available to them. Having managed to find a rare paralegal position, she can be found working late at her job in the waterfront district, or, in her rare moments of leisure, enjoying an overpriced cocktail nearby. 

Nearly passing for a functioning adult, Petra was trained in self-defense by her martial arts expert father, and has enough perspective to accept her senses when confronted with the Unnatural. However, she will be shocked and horrified if confronted with evidence of the Dun Set's activities, and do everything in her power to help the Agents. She would make a suitable Friendly or even a potential replacement Agent for casualties sustained.

Although she would not link the two together, Danica knows Petra well, and if the agents inquire about esoterica, strange occurrences in the arts or alt culture scenes, or odd withdrawals from society (perhaps inspired by NIGHT FLOORS), she offers to introduce the Agents to Petra.


With not much to go on at first, it's probable that the Agents will canvas widely and erratically. The Dun Set are not particularly careful, being obsessed with fighting their own struggle against darkness. Their function is to provide a sympathetic mirror to the Agents' own motivations and methods, and to prove physically nonthreatening, making them difficult to deal with in a morally defensible fashion. As such, the precise trail of carnage should be decided based on the Agents' behaviour in past operations. However, here are some suggestions.


Worked in to other designs, and blurred by smeared ink and blood, the elements of _Il Re in Giallo_'s presentation are distinctive. After studying the photos, the Agents may begin seeing the designs echoed in regular patterns like tiles and brickwork. Reproduced and scanned into an image-based search engine, The Dun Set's profiles would be one of the first hits. Their links to the original cinephile blog no longer work, but the images and text remain on their reposts.


Inspired by the discovery of her new favourite film, Becky has been trawling used bookshops and crystal dealers all over town, bugging them for any existing copies of The King In Yellow, in any translation. It being difficult to keep an enthusiast from her original sources, she abruptly stopped coming by, but those dealers remember her well.


If the Agents are already open to the advances of the King in Yellow, their leads may also present themselves intuitively, in the Home Phase or in their mid-operation dreams. They may even be seeded in advance.

These dreams are not meant to be scary, disturbing, or surreal. They are moments from normal dreams that people have all the time, but the Agents find their thoughts drifting to them incessantly. Perhaps they see them acted out over another Agent's shoulder, or in a park, or in the back of a noisy bar. 

  • A young woman reaches deep into the back of her mouth, withdrawing a dripping hand to proudly display a handful of bloody teeth, giving the Agent a perfect and whole smile.
  • A man interviews a woman as though for a job, but he has a fresh wound oozing blood through his dress clothes, and the scene shifts around him to an alleyway where he lies dead.
  • The Agent walks through a bar, but everyone is staring at their phones and unresponsive to him. If he peers over their shoulders, they are thoroughly involved in text conversations which only consist of the phrase "Have you seen the Yellow Sign?"
  • Men and women stand in an art gallery, conversing in Italian. The gallery is done up in Late Victorian decor, and the frames of the paintings are ornate. The paintings are stills from _Il Re in Giallo_, rendered exquisitely in oils. Title cards are hyperlinks. Masks, intricate twisting designs, and shrouded figures predominate.


However the Agents discover and contain the Dun Set, the method of infection makes their work difficult. The images, links, and partial excerpts from _Il Re in Giallo_ still exist on the social media platforms. They should be aware of the likelihood for employees in content moderation positions to be exposed to the incursion. Left unchecked, the King in Yellow's influence will eventually spread throughout the upper ranks of Silicon Valley, their utopian instincts leading them directly to Carcosa.


This is an entry to the 2018 Delta Green shotgun scenario contest, written by Karl Parakenings.

The intellectual property known as Delta Green is ™ and © the Delta Green Partnership. The contents of this document are © their respective authors, excepting those elements that are components of the Delta Green intellectual property.