episode088

We’re back, and we’re digging through those thick books and bulging boxed sets that dominate our gaming shelves. Published campaigns have been a huge part of roleplaying games since their infancy. This is especially true for Call of Cthulhu. Call of Cthulhu is often defined by epic campaigns like Beyond the Mountains of MadnessHorror on the Orient Express and, especially, Masks of Nyarlathotep. They open up strange new worlds of play, bringing thrills, chills and memorably gruesome deaths to gaming tables across the globe.

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Up to four hideous deaths per session guaranteed.

While using a published campaign gives you access to huge amounts of research, imagination and stat blocks prepared by other gamers, this doesn’t mean they have done all the work for you. The GM still has to read, digest and regurgitate all this material, like a monstrous bird-thing feeding a gaming table full of hungry chicks.

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“Shut up and roll for initiative!”

Our discussion takes us through the stages of preparing and running a published campaign, as well as offering general tips for bringing the campaign alive. We also look at how to assemble a campaign out of disparate published scenarios. This approach can either create an exciting, varied play experience or a Frankenstein’s monster of a campaign that will destroy you and your players out of a deathless thirst for revenge.

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“We belong dead. Or permanently insane. I’m good either way.”

Our original plan for the episode was to also discuss writing or improvising your own campaigns, but we found so much to say about using published material that we have decided to save that as a topic for a future episode. As I may have mentioned before, we’re a verbose bunch. If we didn’t record standing up in a poorly ventilated room, we would probably still be talking now.

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The Good Friends at the end of a recording session, pictured for reference.

In the course of the episode, Paul mentioned the campaign journal from his old Ars Magica game. We promised a picture, and after a little last-minute panicking, here it is.

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Sanity Loss: 1D6, Cthulhu Mythos (Initial Reading): +2%, Cthulhu Mythos (Full Study): +4%, Mythos Rating: 18, Study: 4 months, Spells: Attract Fish

Finally, we should warn you that there is more singing in this episode. We have a new $5 backer on Patreon, whose thanks we sing in a repellently organic manner. Our experiments with new techniques are beginning to change us inside and out. There is now little resemblance between a human singing voice and the blasphemous cacophony that vomits forth from our twisted lips. So, enjoy!

 

Episode087

We’re back, and we’re talking about a horror film for the first time in far too long. The Witch: A New England Folktale is one of the most unusual and ambitious horror films of recent years. It is an intelligent, sinister and beautifully made period piece, set in the days of colonial America. Few horror films pay this much attention to historical detail and language. It also takes its subject matter seriously, with a straight portrayal of witch folklore rarely seen in modern film. All this means we find plenty to talk about, and not just whether the film is called The Witch or The VVitch.

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“Wouldst thou like to spell consistently?”

As usual for our film episodes, this discussion spoils every aspect of The Witch. This is utterly appropriate for a film full of rotten crops, bloody milk and gory eggs. We also, as usual, look at elements of the film that we can steal for our games. Honestly, if you can’t find inspiration for a Call of Cthulhu game in The Witch, you should hand in your Keeper card now.

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Keeper card pictured for reference.

In the introduction, we mention Pickman’s Guest, the new short film from Chris Lackey and Greig Johnson. This is their third comedic Lovecraftian short, and it’s as wonderful as the others. Not only are their films very funny, but they are professional and polished in every respect. We recommend picking through their back catalogue like a hungry ghoul searching a tomb for charnel fruits.

We also have a new Patreon backer to sing to this episode. Anytime someone backs us at the $5 level, we literally sing their praises. Our original intent was to sing in a barbershop quartet style, but our lack of any musical talent has caused the songs to become something else altogether. We recently started experimenting with some new styles and vocal effects, pushing us into even stranger realms. If this episode causes internal bleeding, sympathetic wailing or demonic possession, please seek suitable medical or spiritual help.