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Earlier this month, Paul and I joined Joe and Eoghan from the How We Roll podcast for a Call of Cthulhu one-shot. Unfortunately, Matt was unable to join us. Mike Mason GMed for the session, using Servants of the Lake, a scenario from the forthcoming Chaosium collection, Doors to Darkness.

We recorded the game, and Joe chopped it up into three episodes, along with a short postscript where we chatted about Call of Cthulhu. If you’ve listened to How We Roll before, you’ll know that Joe is a master of applying sound effects and background music, and this episode is no exception.

All the episodes are now available on Soundcloud. Alternatively, here is the episode downloads page on the How We Roll website, where you can select Servants of the Lake from the drop-down menu.

Episode083

We’re back, and we’re looking at the dice clutched in our hands, asking “why?” Seriously, sitting around a table with people you like while everyone pretends to be someone else sounds pretty weird. And yet, for many, roleplaying games are a passion that borders on obsession. The three of us have spent, appropriately for this episode, a total of 83 years playing RPGs. This a realisation that has led to much reflection and a few existential crises since we added it all up. So, why do we do it, what do we get out of it and how can we explain RPGs to people who think that roleplaying involves Batman costumes, naughty nurses and flirty French maids?

maid rpg

OK, there may be some cause for confusion.

Our discussion takes us through a quick overview of the different forms roleplaying takes, how we got into RPGs, why we’ve continued roleplaying long into what we laughably call adult life, and how we might explain RPGs to normal people. We are not academics, so our analysis of the topic is purely subjective and woefully unscientific. We did toy with the idea of dissecting a gamer to gain deeper understanding, but we failed to find a suitable and consenting test subject. Maybe we should have pitched it as the ultimate unboxing video.

View_of_Viscera_Page_82

Not pictured: l, dice pouch.

The other irregular segment in this episode is our brief overview of the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition launch party. We’ve posted about the event already, but now you can hear us ramble on about it too. It’s just like being on a long car journey with us nattering away, only with less sleep deprivation and swerving into oncoming traffic.

dockside dogs

One quick amendment to these notes. Paul mentioned his Dockside Dogs scenario for Call of Cthulhu, which he has been selling through DriveThru RPG to raise money for cancer research. I completely forgot to post a link to it first time round.

Episode082

We’re back, and we’re tearing into the ripe meat of another Lovecraft story. This time we discuss the charnel pleasures and toothsome delights of Pickman’s Model. While there is nothing of the cosmic about this tale, it is one of Lovecraft’s best-known works, and perhaps the purest horror story he ever penned. It introduces us to Lovecraft’s version of ghouls, although they weren’t fully integrated into his wider Mythos until The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.

pickman's model

Put down your lunch and wave to the nice listeners.

The above picture is probably the iconic rendition of Pickman’s Model, by beloved pulp artist Hannes Bok. In the episode, Paul mentions that this image also reminds him of one of the covers of the Grafton editions of Lovecraft’s work. While its subject may lack the distinctive snout and hooves of Lovecraftian ghouls, and is rather more corpulent, it still sort of fits the (grave) mould.

haunter of the dark cover

Not every model is a size zero.

As usual in our story episodes, we talk about the different elements we can steal for our games, as well as mentioning various film and television adaptations. Specifically, we discuss the Pickman’s Model episode of Night Gallery, as well as Professor Peabody’s Last Lecture and their adaptation of Cool Air; Volume 4 of Lurker Films’ H P Lovecraft Collection, which is devoted to Pickman’s Model and includes the feature film Chilean Gothic; and Pickman’s Muse, an independent feature which, unusually, sets Richard Upton Pickman at the heart of the events of The Haunter of the DarkI reviewed Pickman’s Muse as part of the 2013 October Horror Movie Challenge.

pickman 6

Don’t let the lack of ghouls put you off. There are many fine films that fail to depict the consumption of human flesh.

This episode also sees more singing. It obviously didn’t see the singing in time, otherwise it would have run off in the other direction. If you haven’t encountered our outre musical endeavours before, I had best explain that this is the way we give thanks to our bravest and most generous Patreon backers, whose praises we literally sing.  This time, inspired by our topic, we have tried to integrate some glibbering and meeping into one of our numbers. It was an interesting experiment, but it has left us with some unwholesome appetites.

skulls

Our backing choir will now join us in a bone-shaking rendition of I Ain’t Got No Body…

Speaking of music, we make mention of a far more melodious and less sanity-blasting number, in the form of a fun, catchy RPG-related song titled Party Killer, from our friends Kat and Sarah. Well, here it is!

We have a fresh and meaty segment of our new Q&A feature, Ask Jackson. As the earthly vessels of the ascended spirit of Jackson Elias, we are empowered to ask his advice about all matters eldritch on behalf of our listeners. If you have some hideous conundrum weighing on your mind, simply use the Contact Us page to let us know what it is, and Jackson will provide you with his shining wisdom before you know it. This episode sees the first question to involve a visual component, in the form of the brochure depicted below. Pay close attention, for your very life could depend on it.

manatee

If you think those are fronds in his maw, you are just the kind of naive fool that ends up devoured.

This episode also includes an unexpected and delightful piece of interaction with one of our listeners. Frank Delventhal sent us a couple of mysterious packages from Germany, packed with eldritch goodies. You can listen as we unwrap them on air and try to work out just how he managed to bend a bunch of six-inch nails into such unnatural configurations (having seen photographs of Frank’s workout regimen, I still maintain that he used his bare hands). You can see some photographs of the lovely presents below!

Frank Pressies 1 Frank Pressies 2 Frank Pressies 3 Frank Pressies 4

Blimey, this was a busy episode! I’ve written scenarios shorter than these show notes. Congratulations if you made it all the way through them!