Malcolm Craig Interview

This latest episode is the audio portion of last week’s interview with Malcolm Craig of Contested Ground Studios. The only differences are the addition of our theme music, some slight fiddling with sound balance, a few edits and the fact that you can’t see any of us. This latter point may be the most appealing, but can also be achieved by shutting your eyes while watching the video.

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Artist’s impression of the view from behind closed eyes.

Malcolm talks about his influences as a game designer, how being a professional historian influences his gaming, Lovecraft’s views on race and why Call of Cthulhu fails as an RPG. Some of his opinions may prove more controversial than others.

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“What do you mean that post-modernist analyses of history are pseudo-intellectual wank?”

We’ve since had a chat with Malcolm about the possibility of having him back on the podcast to elaborate on some of his opinions about Call of Cthulhu in more of a round table discussion. If this sounds like the kind of thing that would interest you, please let us know! We do check the comments here, but we also have a community for just such things over at Google+.

Skills & RPGs

This latest discussion is all about skills in roleplaying games, ranging from Library Use to Firearms to the ability to put out a podcast on a regular schedule. We’ve put some more points into this last one, honest.

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“What do you mean it’s Tuesday already?”

We ramble on about what role skills play in a game, how they came about, what the alternatives to skill systems are and the ways in which and reasons why the skill system in the latest edition of Call of Cthulhu is slightly simpler. We almost certainly get a lot of stuff wrong, but this is deliberate, as it’s the only way to improve in some systems.

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“So I get another 5% in Pilot Zeppelin, right?”

As ever, there is digression, disagreement and diverse and dreadful profanity. Being British, we get a racial bonus in pointless swearing.

Horror on the Orient Express

The episode now departing from platform 4 is the delayed discussion of Horror on the Orient Express, calling at recaps, anecdotes, spoilers and updated content. First class material will be found throughout this episode. The journey time will be approximately two hours.

All aboard!

All aboard!

The discussion is a round-table between various members of the Milton Keynes Roleplaying Club, who have been playing Horror on the Orient Express since before Scott got his first grey hair. The campaign was a playtest of both new material developed for the Kickstarter-funded revamp and the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition rules themselves, so you will hear lots of insights into both. You will also hear more spoilers for the campaign than you thought possible. Seriously, if you haven’t played Horror on the Orient Express and ever plan to, this is not the episode for you. Go back and listen to more wholesome discussions, such as our exploration of the love that can only exist between man and gorilla.

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Any excuse to use this picture again!

The passengers on the train were Amy, Arthur, Dominic, Jef (absent), Matt S, Paul F and Paul W (also absent), and the conductor was Matt Nott. Scott wasn’t involved in the game, so he got to ask all the questions. We recorded the discussion at York House, where the game took place, which has somewhat more echo than Paul’s shed. There was also a spirited Pathfinder game taking place in the next room, the squeals from which sometimes permeated the connecting door. Despite all this, you should still be able to follow the discussion at least as well as Scott did.