The Call of Cthulhu part 1

We’re back and we’re talking about one of Lovecraft’s best-known stories. The Call of Cthulhu probably boasts more name recognition than any other Lovecraft tale. This is largely due to the ubiquity of old squidhead himself. Between the term “Cthulhu Mythos” and Chaosium using the story’s name for their groundbreaking RPG, Cthulhu has found a prominent place in pop culture. Despite that, comparatively few people who have heard the name know much about the story he comes from.

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is enough gin to briefly wipe away memories of this abomination.

This is the first of two episodes about The Call of Cthulhu. This time we’re focusing on the story itself, or at least the first two-thirds of it. The next episode will cover the climax of the story, an overview of its various adaptations into other media and some ideas about how to use elements in your Call of Cthulhu games. That said, if you can’t work out how to incorporate The Call of Cthulhu into Call of Cthulhu, maybe it’s time to give up.

I mean, his name’s right there in the title and everything!

If you aren’t happy with merely hearing our insights, we have some added treats for you. Mike Mason, line editor of Call of Cthulhu, generously recorded some readings for us. Listen out for his eldritch tones throughout the episode. And none other than Sandy Petersen, creator of Call of Cthulhu (not The Call of Cthulhu — this could turn into an Abbott & Costello routine if we’re not careful) joins us for a short segment to discuss the influence of this particular story on his work. And speaking of his work, Sandy mentions a few future projects to look forward to. Chaosium is developing Tales of Sandy Petersen, a collection of Sandy’s Call of Cthulhu scenarios. There is also Sandy’s Cthulhu Mythos for Pathfinder book to look forward to. If you can’t wait for these goodies, however, fret not! The Kickstarter campaign for Cthulhu Wars Onslaught 3 has just launched.

In the news segment, we mention that a number of projects we worked on are up for ENnie Awards. If you would like to vote for any of them, they are: Pulp Cthulhu (Best Supplement), the Keeper Screen Pack (Best Aid/Accessory, Best Cartography), The Things We Leave Behind (Best Adventure, Best Electronic Book), the Call of Cthulhu Investigator Handbook (Best Cover) and the Call of Cthulhu — 7th Edition Slipcase Set (Best Production Values). Be quick! Voting ends on the 21st of July.

 

We also mention that we will be at Necronomicon in Providence, from the 17th to the 20th of August. While there, we will record a special episode with our good friends from the Miskatonic University podcast. We’re scheduled to appear on a few panels, run some games and spend a disgraceful amount of time in the bar. If you are at Necronomicon, please find us and say hi!

 

The second most merciful thing in the world, I think, is that there is no singing in this episode. While another brave soul has offered his name up to the dark gods of cacophony by pledging at the $5 level on Patreon, we still need to check some details before we can perform the appropriate rites. You shall have to wait until next episode for us to call down doom upon all who listen.

Mage: the Awakening

We’re back and we’re following up episode 105‘s discussion of the World of Darkness with a more detailed look at one of the core games that make up the current incarnation of the line. Mage: the Awakening is the reinvention of the RPG that started life as Mage: the Ascension. Onyx Path released a second, heavily revised edition last year, and this version is the focus of our episode.

Mage: the Awakening

Once again, Matt is our native guide through the World of Darkness. While both Paul and Scott have played at least a few sessions of Mage, only Matt has any detailed knowledge of the new edition. His degree of familiarity with its dark arts would have had him burnt at the stake in less enlightened times. Today, happily, the only Inquisition he faces is lots of ill-informed questions from Scott and Paul.

Our use of torture instruments is purely recreational.

Mage: the Awakening is an odd game. Whilst it has dark elements, its fantastical approach seems an anomaly in a line of games whose focus is horror. In its latest incarnation, it trades much of the mechanical simplicity that drew players to White Wolf for a far more complex magic system. And it offers fewer answers to the question of what exactly the player characters do than many RPGs. We delve into these and other aspects, trying to work out where exactly Mage fits into the World of Darkness.

Centre stage and in the spotlight, apparently.

In the news segment, we mention that The Dark Times fanzine is looking for scenarios and articles for a variety of horror games. Please get in touch with them if you want to see your name in (digital) print. Also, Chaosium have released the print editions of The Two-Headed Serpent and The Grand Grimoire of Mythos Magic. We all worked on the former, and the latter represents a Herculean feat of organisation by Matt. The Excel spreadsheets for it are more complex than the budgets of many large corporations, although maybe not as sanity-blasting.

The Two-Headed Serpent

Slithering its way into all good game shops now.

Many of you may be relieved to learn that there is no singing in this episode. We do have a few new Patreon backers to thank, but none of them have called down the horror of song upon themselves. Our voices remain hidden in the dark corners of the world, waiting to be summoned once more.