The World of Darkness

Episode 105: The World of Darkness

We’re back and we’re sharpening our fangs, picking the nits out of our fur and preparing for some paradox. Born in 1991 out of Vampire: the Masquerade, the World of Darkness has grown, changed and completely reinvented itself many times since. As a result, our discussion covers only the very basics of its history. Simply cataloguing the different game lines, editions and even publishers that make up the different iterations would take more time than we have.

None of us are getting any younger here.

We give most of our discussion over to understanding the appeal of these games. While all three of us have played at least some of the lines, only Matt knows them well, so most of the episode is Paul and Scott asking him questions. Matt’s collection of the books covers his library like gothic wallpaper. Just as importantly, he has written for Onyx Path, one of the current publishers of World of Darkness material, so he speaks with some authority.

Although this authority may not always be respected.

As well as talking about the tabletop gaming world, we also discuss LARPs. No other RPG game line has made quite the same jump to live-action gaming. World of Darkness LARPs have brought many people into our hobby who may never have encountered it otherwise. Again, this is a foreign world to Paul and Scott, so Matt serves as our guide.

Although his tours usually only make it as far as the nearest cocktail bar.

This is the first episode in months to be free of the taint of singing. We did actually have a last-minute $5 Patreon backer, but they came in just too late to make the mix. As regular listeners know to their cost, we thank those generous people who give us $5 an episode with a personalised aural assault that twists their name into the stuff of nightmares. You can look forward to just such an abomination next episode.

Investigative Games part 2

We’re back and we’re wrapping up our investigation into, um, investigations. This is the second part of our look at investigative games. Once again, we are joined by Mike Mason, line editor for Call of Cthulhu. Following on from last episode‘s discussion of player techniques, this time we delve into tips and tricks for GMs.

Step 1: gather a good supply of breadcrumbs. Step 2: arrange the breadcrumbs in a trail.

We give over a large part of the episode to the different ways we can create and structure investigative scenarios. Our discussion leads us to analyse what makes a good clue, offer some tips about ensuring the PCs find these clues and flag up some of the possible pitfalls that may stop them doing so.

Although if you look up from your magnifying glass every now and then, you should be able to see the pit before you fall into it.

In our news segment, Matt mentions a few current Kickstarter campaigns. He has helpfully gathered them all together in a single post. We also discuss the upcoming session of Paul’s scenario Gatsby and the Great Race, organised by good friend of the Good Friends, Cory Welch. Cory and friends will be running this at the Nexus Game Fair in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on the 27th of May.

In our social media catch-up, we offer a dramatic reading of what might be the strangest prose we’ve ever encountered. A spambot produced some cut-up text to offer a spurious download of The Two-Headed Serpent, and the result is the tastiest word salad imaginable.

Westminster is the arab. Thereby viscid settee was being authentically Pulp Cthulhu about the stockholder. Signwriter uncloaks through a joannie. Togs is the epichthyolite. Family is munificently The Two-Headed Serpent toward the bane. In posse aforethought license is the nicholle. Thrillingly afghani slowpoke is a intension. Arabick enoch extremly implacably gets around snarkily for the stagnantly unsophisticated furfur. Sootflakes were the modishly jurassic episcopes. Transrhenane frazzle was decadently boring. Personable jana can round up. Misleading arman can mingle. Serial methadone must plead from the splintered possessorship. Neoprenes can bloat. Pulp Cthulhu is the handsomely deplorable gaiety. Unspoilt reselection infixes. Bearably unvarnished jarrod has quipped from the gastronomic foraminifer. Superfluous aborts were the threnetic multivalves. Concussive spaniel can unfetter per the synthetically drony yardage.

We also mention two conflicting reports of the similarities between Lieutenant Columbo and Detective Kinderman from The Exorcist, following on from our passing mention of them on the previous episode. Evan Dorkin quite rightly points out that the first appearance of Columbo pre-dates the publication of The Exorcist. Then Tore Nielsen sent us a link to an interview with William Peter Blatty where he claims that the creators of Columbo had seen his unpublished manuscript and ripped it off. We shall probably never know the truth.

Especially as the one man who could get to the bottom of it is implicated himself…

When reading Evan Dorkin’s post, we make mention of his Lovecraftian comic, Calla Cthulhu. I’m a huge fan of Mr Dorkin’s work, such as Milk and Cheese and Dork, but embarrassingly, I haven’t read this yet. I shall have to rectify this soon and post a proper discussion.

And, finally, we should warn you that we sing again in this episode. We have two new $5 Patreon backers and we defile their names with our eldritch warblings. This should have cleared the backlog of lovely, generous and brave people to thank, so there may be a song-free episode next time. Unless, of course, a new backer offers themselves up for such unholy immortalisation before then.