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Bit late to the party
I mean, I haven't run another session yet, so further input is welcome.
I think its a conflict between Cthulu and Pathfinder, in pathfinder an item needs to have a certain tie to achieve an effect whereas in Cthulu the item itself is often less important.
That's exactly the issue I was having.
In Pathfinder, if the text could drive people insane and possibly turn them into monsters, then it should be magical and should radiate as such.
In the Cthulhu Mythos, things are more subtle. Reading the play draws the attention of Hastur who then causes the effects.
I checked in Strange Aeons, looking for more references. I didn't find any until I got to the final adventure. There is a sidebar there that reads as follows:
The King in Yellow is a ritual disguised as a play, often
found in written form but rarely performed. The ritual
is so potent that it has a self-sabotaging effect. When
the play is read, even silently, it is often activated by
the time the reader has gotten to Act 2. The second
act is a specific demarcation point in the ritual, a point
of no return. The reader becomes the primary caster
while thinking she is reading a piece of fiction. If bereft
of other actors, props, and stage movement, the ritual
inevitably fails and the hapless reader suffers backlash
that manifests as trauma and madness. In some cases,
the ritual summons monsters or causes the reader to be
transported to Carcosa.
I honestly don't know if this actually helps. Do rituals detect as evil (or other alignments)?
For that matter, another Hastur ritual elsewhere in the adventure causes participants to shift closer to Chaotic... and the goal of the pamphlets is to mind-screw the people of Paris into overthrowing the royals and the churches to remove those impediments. So... if anything, maybe the pamphlets should detect as Chaotic rather than Evil?
I will probably need to decide on this by this weekend, so I have a few days yet. Feel free to keep the discussion going if anyone has any further thoughts.