Main Topic: The Good Friends keep it real

We’re back and we’re trying to maintain our grasp on reality. This is tenuous at the best of times, and all this conflation with imagination is doing it no favours. In this episode, when we say “reality”, we mean the reality of the game world we’re playing in. Is that even a reasonable term to use when talking about a setting filled with malevolent alien creatures from beyond space and time?

You expect me to believe in a world populated by entities from forgotten times, willing to destroy entire nations for their own selfish ends? Pshaw!

This episode is our attempt to understand what makes a game setting feel real. We looked at the role of game mechanics last episode, but they are only one piece of the puzzle. In order for players to buy into a game, they generally have to find the setting plausible. How does this apply to RPGs set in worlds of fantasy, science fiction or weird horror? And what aspects of historical accuracy make or break a game?

News

Google+ Shutdown

In the news segment, we offer another reminder that our Google+ community is going away on the 2nd of April. To be fair, all of G+ is shutting down then, but we’re focusing on the important stuff. You can still find us on Discord, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Patreon and under your bed at night.


PodUK

Scott shares his experiences at PodUK, where he recorded a live episode with How We Roll and Dirk the Dice from The Grognard Files. We released the recording of our playthrough of Leigh Carr’s marvellous scenario “The Necropolis” as a special episode. There were a number of other fine podcasts there, including Orphans, Wooden Overcoats, Victoriocity, Death in Ice Valley and Flintlocks & Fireballs. Why not put some of them in your ears?

And we offer another reminder that we are working on issue 4 1/2 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is the digital sibling to our print-only fanzine, destined to travel across the digital ghoul winds to our Patreon backers this summer.

Other Stuff

Raw Episodes

We are still releasing the raw versions of new episodes on our Patreon RSS feed. Episode 152’s unedited version is especially long as it also includes our first attempt at talking about this topic. The two takes are very different, and while we were happier with the second, the first has some good stuff in it. You can also find our Weird Whisperings on the Patreon RSS feed. These are the occasional recordings we make of some of the weird tales we’ve discussed.

Songs

There are two songs in this episode. Suspending your disbelief won’t save you. These are, as ever, our hideous method of thanking new $5 Patreon backers. We still have a few more of you to thank, but only dare to record two songs per episode. I’m sure you can understand why. If your song has yet to find you, it will soon. Some things are shudderingly inevitable.

Main Topic: The Good Friends get real

We’re back and we’re facing harsh realities. How do we make RPGs feel “real” when we play them? And what do we even mean by “real”? More importantly, how can we ask such questions without passing a bong around?

Any accusations that we may be hippies are completely overstated, man.

Surely we play RPGs to get away from reality. But even if this is the case, we still need to suspend our disbelief during the game; otherwise, it devolves into even more farce and arguments than usual. But what may feel real to one player might not to another. How do we create consensus and what part do game mechanics play in this?

First point of consensus: we are not bloody rolling to see how wide our anuses are.

In our discussion, we mention the late, lamented podcast, The Sons of Kryos. Judd Karlman and Jeff Lower were pioneers in RPG podcasting, offering sound advice to players and GMs alike. This is the podcast that inspired both Paul and Scott to become RPG podcasters. While their website and RSS feed are long gone, you can still find the complete run on archive.org.

Rules are not the only factor here. Next episode, we’ll explore what makes a game setting real to us. Or at least as close to real as we’re capable of getting. Making stuff up for a living can do strange things to one’s mind.

News

Pad’thulhu Auction

Anyone who has seen the cover of issue 4 of The Blasphemous Tome has already met Pad’thulhu. This most adorable of abominations was created by comics legend Evan Dorkin. Pad’thulhu has stolen our hearts. And then he ate them.

The Blasphemous Tome issue 4 cover

Good friend of the Good Friends, David Kirkby, was compelled to bring Pad’thulhu to life, rendering him in at least three dimensions. The resulting cuteness in clay perfectly captures every sanity-warping detail, drenching them in vivid colour.

You may be wishing that this eldritch moppet was perched upon your mantelpiece, filling your dreams with maddening visions of blood and marmalade. Well, this could happen!

We are auctioning David’s sculpture to raise money for Cancer Research UK. The auction will run until the 14th of March. We hope it will raise plenty of money for a cause that is important to so many of us. Look out for updates on social media. Thank you very much to David Kirkby for donating his sculpture and to Evan Dorkin for starting this whole thing off!

ConTingency

Matt takes a little time to tell us what he got up to on his winter holidays. Not many people would take a pleasure trip to England’s east coast in January. In this respect, as in so many others, Matt is not most people. He tells us all about the ConTingency convention, its new home in Hunstanton and all the wonderful games he played there.

Spotify

We are on Spotify! This means that you can now listen to The Good Friends of Jackson Elias pretty well everywhere podcasts are to be found. We might even be on Google Play, but as its podcast service is still unavailable in the UK, we’ll have to take that on faith. Take your time, Google. You can’t rush into these things.

Google+

Much like the British economy, Google+ has about a month to live. A number of members of our G+ Community have already moved over to our Discord server, Facebook page, Twitter stream and shiny new subreddit. If you haven’t done so yet, we would love to see you in as many of these places as you can face. You may also want to back up your data from G+ before it turns into so much digital chaff.

Other Stuff

Songs

The songs we assemble to thank our Patreon backers may undermine your sense of reality. And they certainly show no trace of real talent. They are, however, really heartfelt. There are two such displays of hideous gratitude in this episode. We are really sorry.

Reviews

Once again, we offer a new iTunes review from one of our wonderful listeners. We are ever so grateful to everyone who has taken the time to post a review, whether on iTunes or any other place you might find podcasts. These reviews improve our visibility, stoke our egos and help us draw more innocent minds into our world of depravity. All laudable goals, surely!

We have something very special to announce! Over on eBay, we are hosting a charity auction for a one-of-a-kind sculpture of interest to fans of H. P. Lovecraft, the Cthulhu Mythos and Paddington Bear. That should cover most of our listenership.

Anyone who has seen the cover of issue 4 of The Blasphemous Tome has already met Pad’thulhu. This most adorable of abominations was created by comics legend Evan Dorkin. Pad’thulhu has stolen our hearts. We shudder to think what he’s doing with them.

The Blasphemous Tome issue 4 cover

Good friend of the Good Friends, David Kirkby, was compelled to bring Pad’thulhu to life, rendering him in at least three dimensions. The resulting cuteness in clay perfectly captures every sanity-warping detail, drenching them in vivid colour.

Pad’thulhu was sculpted in Super Sculpey firm with wooden spheres for eyes, dowel for toggles and lollypop sticks with plastic details for his suitcase. The sculpture is 10 cm tall (4 inches), including its wooden base. You can learn more about the creation process on David’s blog.

After hearing all this, you almost certainly wish that this eldritch moppet was yours, squatting atop your mantelpiece and filling your dreams with visions of blood and marmalade. Well, this is your chance!

We are auctioning David’s unique sculpture to raise money for Cancer Research UK. The auction will run until the 14th of March. We hope it will raise plenty of money for a cause that is important to so many of us. Look out for updates on social media. Thank you very much to David Kirkby for donating his sculpture and to Evan Dorkin for starting this whole thing off!

Please share this post with wild abandon!

We’re back with something a little different. For a start, when we say “we”, we mean Scott, who recently recorded this live game of Call of Cthulhu with the How We Roll podcast. Sadly, Matt and Paul were unable to join us. This is the first time we’ve put out an actual play recording as part of The Good Friends feed and we hope you like it! We are releasing this in conjunction with How We Roll and The Grognard Files.

The game took place at PodUK 2019, in Birmingham, back at the start of February. This was the first dedicated podcasting convention to take place in the UK and it was rather wonderful.

As well as Joe, Eoghan, Kuran and David from How We Roll, we were joined by Dirk the Dice from The Grognard Files podcast. None of us had ever gamed in front of a live audience before, so we didn’t quite know what to expect. This was all the more nerve-racking, as we were the only gaming-related podcast on the roster. Happily, our event went down well. A few non-gamers mentioned afterwards how much they’d enjoyed it, even if they weren’t entirely sure what we were doing.

We played Leigh Carr’s excellent demo scenario, The Necropolis. This is a perfect game to play in a tight time slot. It involves a doomed archaeological dig in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings in 1924. The premise is simple enough that players can engage with it immediately. We recommend it highly to any Keepers looking to lure new Cthulhu players into our eerie little hobby. You can download it free of charge if you join The Cult of Chaos organised play programme.

Thank you very much to everyone who came along to the recording and to the meet-and-greet afterwards, including the crew of the Flintlocks and Fireballs podcast. It was lovely to get to talk to so many of you. Let’s hope this all happens again next year!

The Good Friends wrap up their investigation of The Dunwich Horror

We’re back and we’re preparing for the apocalypse. To be fair, this seems to be a pretty understated apocalypse. It mostly involves an invisible monster prancing around a hilltop. Maybe the creature will do something world-ending up there. For now, we’re mostly worried about our cattle.

Main Topic

This is the final part of our unusually long look at Lovecraft’s weird tale, The Dunwich Horror. It’s taken us four episodes to cover it all, but we think this is warranted. Whether or not you think this is a good story (and there’s some dissent about this in the episode) it is an important one. Lovecraft laid out some key components of the Cthulhu Mythos here. The tale may arguably be less than the sum of its parts, but oh what parts it has.

As well as the story itself, we also look at its spread into other media.

As promised, here is Aleister Crowley doing “that thing with his hands”. The resemblance to Dean Stockwell is uncanny.
Also as promised, possibly the worst move trailer ever made.
And why stop with trailers? Here’s the entirety of H P Lovecraft’s Dunwich Horror and Other Stories.

News

150 Episodes

Somehow, we’ve hit 150 episodes! We’ll cheerfully ascribe this to hard work, dedication and passion, although most of it is simply due to the relentless passage of time. Every episode is another roadside marker on our steady path to the grave. Um. Hang on. This was supposed to be a celebration. 150 episodes, everyone!

Let’s set off some fireworks in celebration, trying not to think about how each explosion accelerates the heat death of the universe in its tiny way.

Pad’Thulhu Auction

As you may be aware, the latest issue of The Blasphemous Tome featured a cover by comics legend Evan Dorkin. In particular, Evan created an adorably terrifying eldritch horror named Pad’thulhu. Sculptor David Kirkby was so taken by Pad’thulhu that he created the cutest horror in clay that any of us have seen, bringing it to full-colour life. We shall auction this sculpture soon to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Our plan is to start the auction on the 5th of March and run it for 10 days. Watch our social media for more details closer to the time.

Place him by your bedside for maddeningly adorable visions of terror and abomination.

Google+ Closure

Google+ is going away on the 2nd of April. Despite its reputation as a failure, it was the online home for much of the tabletop RPG community, including us. In our search for a replacement, we have created a subreddit for the Good Friends. We believe that this will offer most of the functionality we have grown used to. As promised in the episode, here’s an article explaining Reddit for beginners. And, if Reddit doesn’t suit you, we can still be found all over the internet.

If you would like to preserve your posts before G+ disappears in a puff of mismanagement, Google have created a tool, named Google Takeout, to let you do so. You can find instructions for it here.

The Blasphemous Tome 4 1/2

As we mentioned, it’s not been long since we released issue 4 of The Blasphemous Tome. With it being a small ‘zine, we struggled to put everything we wanted into it and had some leftover material. Happily, a solution has presented itself. Around the middle of this year (probably the end of June) we shall release the Blasphemous Tome 4 1/2. The main difference between this and its big brother is that issue 4 1/2 will be a PDF-only release. You can still print it out, of course! We shall provide regular updates over the next 4 months.

The Blasphemous Tome issue 4 cover
The last Blasphemous Tome, featuring the original Pad’thulhu as our cover model.

Other Stuff

In the first episode of our discussion, we pondered what limerick might start with “There was a young man from Dunwich”. This proved disturbingly inspirational to our listeners and our inboxes filled up with verse. We read out a few of our favourites in this episode, but do check our various social media feeds for the rest. In particular, CthulhuBob combined several limericks to create an epic verse in the comments to that episode’s show notes. Scroll down to the bottom to find it.

And let’s not even contemplate mixing limericks and Attract Fish!

As sanity-blasting as some of the adaptations of The Dunwich Horror might be, they’re nothing compared to our songs. This episode contains two such productions, offered in thanks to new Patreon backers. We still have many more to go, so don’t relax yet.

And speaking of strange rewards, we are still releasing rough cuts of episodes to Patreon backers. These are largely uncut recordings of what happens when the three of us get together to make an episode. As well as all the coughs, stumbles and retakes, they include material we simply couldn’t fit in the show. Oddly enough, not all of this is dick jokes. Check Patreon for details.