Episode062

We’re back and we’re looking at monsters, hoping against hope that they don’t look back at us! In particular, we’re talking about our favourite monsters from Lovecraft and Call of Cthulhu. There’s one entry on our list that was created especially for the game, and another that has rarely seen use at the gaming table. No matter where they came from, however, they will all be happy to devour you. Or worse.

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It is difficult to believe that Lovecraft isn’t responsible for certain real creatures too.

We’re also back to using our old Top 3 format for this, with each of us counting down our three favourites. Thank you to listener Danial for reminding us that we hadn’t done one of these for a long time and suggesting monsters as a topic! We’ll revisit this format soon with a look at our favourite Lovecraftian gods, once we’ve worked out how to pronounce all their names.

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On second thoughts, maybe some names should remain unutterable.

While discussing one of Paul’s choices, we recommended a book named The Throne of Bones, by Brian McNaughton. Happily it is not only in print, but also available as an inexpensive ebook. You can find a nice little review of it here.

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We’re still trying to find out how the cover artist got a picture of Scott’s living room.

In our introductory chat, we make mention of recent posts by user specialflesh on Reddit, featuring photographs of Lovecraft that none of us had ever seen before. You can find them here. At the time of posting, specialflesh had posted no pictures from his or her account that were NSFW; we can’t promise this won’t change, especially given that username!

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And where does he find all those photographs anyway?

The other thing we mention in the introduction is the Kickstarter campaign for Lovecraftesque, a new Lovecraftian story game from Black Armada (AKA Becky Annison and Joshua Fox). We were going to play a session of it and discuss it on this episode, but life had other plans. Life is mean like that sometimes. It never returns our phone calls either.

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Lovecraftesque is illustrated by Robin Scott, whose work isn’t made any less lovely by being deeply disturbing.

One of the things that makes Lovecraftesque unusual is that the players control a single investigator between them, taking turns to navigate him or her through a deadly maze of clues. This possibly makes Lovecraftesque the closest gaming experience to an actual Lovecraft story. At the time of posting, the campaign has another 15 days to run. It is fully funded and has hit a number of stretch goals. One of the upcoming goals, tantalisingly within reach, is a scenario by Scott, named Change Our Vile Bodies, which promises body horror and weirdness on a West Country hippie commune in the early 1970s.

Episode061

We’re back, and we’re watching horror films about books. We don’t mean films based on books (although one is, just to confuse things), but films where a book plays a central role. In fact, you could argue that the books in question are characters and not mere plot devices. Wooden performances are easier to forgive when you’re largely made of wood pulp.

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If you flick the pages just right, you can hear a distinct “Whoa”.

Our two choices are The Ninth Gate  (1999) and Maléfique (2002). We didn’t mean to review another Polanski film so soon after our dust-up over Repulsion in episode 51, but the Devil made us do it. Predictably, we disagree completely about the film’s merits once again, although this time the tables are turned.

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“That got a bit heated!”

Our discussion takes in some other French horror films that followed in the wake of Maléfique, including High Tension/Switchblade Romance, InsideFrontière(s), Martyrs and Livid. We end, as ever, with a look at what elements we can steal for use in our games.

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“Attract Fish? Should be safe enough…”

In the introduction, we discuss getting ready for the Concrete Cow convention in Milton Keynes. True to form, we weren’t organised enough to do this in an episode that would come out before the convention. The good news is that you don’t have long to wait until the next one. Concrete Cow 16 takes place on the 12th of March 2016, and it will be the convention’s 10th birthday celebration. There will be cake. And games. And cows. Well, maybe not cows.

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Not pictured: Scott or Matt doing rude things.

Episode060

We’re back, and we’re plunging once more into the abyss of despair and madness that is R’lyeh Roulette. In case you didn’t listen to our first round, back in episode 37, this is where we let the dice select random entries from Matt’s sanity-blasting spreadsheet of every spell from official Chaosium Call of Cthulhu publications. We then brainstorm scenario ideas around the results. This episode, we bolstered our creativity by having some inadvisably large White Russians beforehand, rendering us somewhat more boisterous than usual. At least this means we actually have an excuse for rambling!

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Some ties can only be explained by alcohol.

As part of our opening discussion of non-euclidean geometry (we’re educational!), we promise a glimpse of Matt’s Euclid tie. Well, look up, and admire how the two (not-quite) parallel lines of its construction never meet. You can also see Matt modelling a non-euclidean tie below.

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By definition, any tie that doesn’t bear a picture of Euclid is non-euclidean.

This episode also features Matt’s quick overview of Gen Con 2015 (short version: too crowded, too hot, but still fun). This includes mention of the Podcast-a-Ganza lovefest organised by our good friends at the Plot Points podcast. Matt acted as our ambassador. So far, we have received no declarations of war from other podcasts, so we declare him a success.