We’re back and we’re digging through the crypt to bring you another toothsome Lovecraft tale, dripping with succulent grave mould. This time it’s the turn of The Outsider, probably the most popular story from Lovecraft’s early, Gothic period. While the twisted shadow of Poe lies heavily over The Outsider, there are many elements that make it essentially Lovecraftian. These include hints and references that touch upon what would eventually become the Mythos.

Sadly, the ghouls in Lovecraft’s later stories spend more time moping around in graveyards than riding the night-wind.

As is usual for our story discussions, we look at the history of the tale, its adaptations into other media and what elements we can steal for our games. The meatiest part of the discussion, however, is our synopsis, which spoils the story worse than the most putrid of charnel fruits. If you haven’t read The Outsider yet, we advise you to do so before listening.

The Outsider and Others cover

You may want to find a cheaper edition than this one, however.

While there are many films inspired by The Outsider (just search for “Lovecraft” and “The Outsider” on YouTube), we focus on two of them. Stuart Gordon’s Castle Freak stands out as the only one of his Lovecraft adaptations that none of us particularly like. It will still appeal to Lovecraft completists and connoisseurs of cheesy horror films, however. Aaron Vanek’s award-winning short film The Outsider is entertaining if still none too faithful to the source material. It may be found on volume 3 of Lurker Films’ HP Lovecraft Collection.

Had Lovecraft lived to see this, he would have kicked himself for not thinking of that title first.

The protagonist of The Outsider only emits one sound in his strange unlife. He describes this as “a ghastly ululation that revolted me almost as poignantly as its noxious cause”. The only thing distinguishing this from the sounds we make towards the end of this episode is that their cause is far from noxious. As long-time listeners know all too well, we sing our thanks to those generous souls who back us on Patreon at the $5 level. This episode features two such explosions of gratitude.

“No, don’t run! There’s only one song left to go.”

We also have a brief discussion about Matt and Paul’s recent visit to the Dragonmeet convention in London. One of the people Paul spoke to there is Chris Lackey, co-host of the excellent HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast. Along with his friend Greig Johnson, Chris has produced three comedic takes on Lovecraft stories that number amongst the best Lovecraftian short films available. Paul was shocked to learn that they haven’t received many hits yet on YouTube, which is deeply unjust. We urge you to watch them and share them with friends who enjoy Lovecraft, comedy or blasphemy of the most exquisite kind.

 

Call of Cthulhu Investigator Handbook cover detail

Listen to our three-part special on beginnings, middles and ends in roleplaying games. We discuss how to start your game off with a bang, keep up the pace and create an ending your players will talk about for years to come.

Beginnings, Middles and Ends

Beginnings: We open with some advice about planning a one-shot or campaign, drawing in the player characters and starting off play with a bang.

Middles: We continue with a look at how to keep up the pace and build tension in an ongoing game.

Ends: We wrap up the series with thoughts about deciding when to end a game, creating a memorable ending and what to do after the game is over.

The Good Friends of Jackson Elias Podcast

The Good Friends of Jackson Elias -- a Call of Cthulhu podcast

This post is designed as an introduction to The Good Friends of Jackson Elias, a Call of Cthulhu podcast.

We feature regular episodes about Call of Cthulhu and other roleplaying games, as well as horror films and weird fiction. The focus of the podcast is always on tabletop RPGs, and our discussions of films and stories feature segments about using elements of them in your games.

The three hosts, Paul Fricker, Matthew Sanderson and Scott Dorward, are all writers who worked on the new edition of Call of Cthulhu as well as many other roleplaying games.

Other Episodes

If you like what you hear, we recommend sampling some of our more recent episodes next.

Making Combat More Interesting. Focusing on Call of Cthulhu, we discuss how to keep fight scenes in roleplaying games from becoming dull and mechanical.

The VVitch. Our look at The Witch, the hit horror film of 2016. As well as discussing the film itself, we pick out elements that you can use in your games.

Running Published Campaigns. Using published RPG material can save time, but it still requires a special kind of preparation. We talk through techniques for doing so in this episode.