As we mentioned in our latest episode, we have started work on issue 4 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is the old-school fanzine we put together for Patreon backers of The Good Friends of Jackson Elias. If you would like to know more, please check out our page about the Tome.

This issue will feature “The Hero Affirmed”, a brand new Call of Cthulhu scenario from our own Matt Sanderson!

Once again, we are aiming to release the Tome along with the Christmas cards we send to all our backers. If you are a backer between publication (late November) and the end of the year, we will send you at least one copy. Our page about the Tome has full details about who will receive what.

If you would like to submit a short article (up to 500 words) or some black-and-white artwork, we would love to hear from you! The Blasphemous Tome is licensed by Chaosium, so we are able to include stats and other game mechanics for Call of Cthulhu. The deadline for submissions is the end of October.

The current table of contents goes something like this:

  • The Ludomancers
    • Our favourite game sessions of the past year
  • Cocktail Corner
    • Matt shares another recipe that man was not meant to know
  • Mythos Fiction: The Sixties and Seventies
    • Scott’s series of story recommendations continues
  • The Hero Affirmed
    • A brand new, full-length Call of Cthulhu scenario from Matt Sanderson
  • Vinyl Corner
    • Paul discusses another musical artefact from the 1970s
  • The Sanderson Collection
    • Matt reveals another rarity from the dusty corners of his bookshelves
  • 2018: A Year in Horror Films
    • Scott talks about the films that impressed and disappointed him this year
  • Episodes of Insanity
    • Some background on our favourite episodes of 2018
  • Die, Die, Die!
    • Matt punishes another die that failed him
  • Plush of the Month
    • Matt makes Scott sad
  • Strange Eons
    • Scott offers an overview of Robert Bloch’s unjustly forgotten Mythos novel

We shall update this list as we receive more submissions.

In episode 137 we discussed Nathan Ballingrud‘s short story Wild Acre. A few days ago, Mr Ballingrud generously took some time to record an interview with us. We discuss Wild Acre and its themes of trauma, as well as the wider role of madness in horror, as well as where Nathan’s work is taking him these days. Given Nathan’s interest in RPGs, we also talk about Call of Cthulhu and how it relates to his work as a writer.

Nathan Ballingrud
Nathan Ballingrud

While we largely focus on North American Lake Monsters, Nathan shares some details about his upcoming book, The Atlas of Hell. He also mentions the film adaptation of his novella, The Visible Filth. This has been made by Babak Anvari, the director behind the wonderful Under the Shadow. The film, which is still awaiting a title, is due out in April of 2019.

The Visible Filth

The conversation also drifts into our mutual love of horror. Some of the answers Nathan offers could almost have come from our episode about the appeal of horror. He neatly sums up in a few minutes what it took us an entire episode to pin down!

We also make mention of Storium, which we then completely fail to explain. Storium is a website that bridges the gap between choose-your-own-adventure books and multiplayer RPGs. You can create your own games, writing content and walking players through your game world. Hell, maybe you can plot out the setting for your next novel there too!

137: Wild Acre

Episode 137: Wild Acre

We’re back and we’re checking the undergrowth for sinister shapes, getting ready to run for our lives and preparing to deal with the consequences. This episode is our discussion of Nathan Ballingrud’s short story, Wild Acre. While Wild Acre isn’t Lovecraftian horror, we thought it would make a good follow-up to our recent episode about insanity in Call of Cthulhu. It is an unusual story, raising questions about the portrayal of trauma in horror.

Main Topic

While the emotional impact of encounters with the impossible is a common theme in horror fiction, Wild Acre takes an unconventional approach. Most of the story explores the protagonist’s inability to cope with a traumatic event he experiences in its opening. The realistic and uncomfortable portrayal of PTSD provides a strong contrast to how the topic is usually handled in games. We use this to further explore some of the themes we have discussed over our past couple of episodes.

North American Lake Monsters

As well as writing some of the emotionally complex horror fiction of recent years, Ballingrud is also a long-time Call of Cthulhu Keeper. We had hoped to include an interview with him in this episode but scheduling problems got in the way. All being well, we shall record one soon and put it out as a bonus.

The Best of the Best Horror of the Year cover

Wild Acre can be found in Ballingrud’s excellent collection North American Lake Monsters, as well as The Best of the Best Horror of the Year.

News

Scott mentions his recent visit to The Haunted City: Modern Monsters and Urban Myths, a day of talks organised by the London Fortean Society. In particular, he discusses the presentation about Lovecraft and the occult given by good friend of The Good Friends, Justin Woodman.

Other Stuff

We have started putting together issue 4 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is the 1980s-style fanzine we create for those wonderful people who back us via Patreon. We plan to send the ‘zine out in early December, along with our Christmas cards. If you have a short (500-word maximum) piece of writing or some black-and-white artwork you’d like to submit, we would love to hear from you! The Blasphemous Tome is licensed by Chaosium, so we are able to include content developed for Call of Cthulhu.

Another way we “thank” some of our Patreon backers is to sing to them. It’s been a while since we had two new $5 backers to thank in this way, but we give you both barrels of song in this episode.

We also share a new iTunes review and some choice comments on our recent episode about player engagement. If you enjoy the podcast, we would love to hear from you on our Google+ Community and would be delighted if you posted a review on iTunes or wherever you find your podcasts.

Our good friends at the Necronomicon Discord community (not related to the Necronomicon convention) are hosting a charity event later this month. This 24-hour live stream will feature lots of Call of Cthulhu goodness, all to raise money for Leukaemia Care.

The organisers are still looking for people to run or take part in sessions throughout the stream. If you are a contributor to Call of Cthulhu in any way (writer, artist, podcaster, YouTube host, etc) then they would love to hear from you. Just join the Necronomicon Discord Server and make yourself know in the Introductions channel.

The press release, below, explains all the details.

Who are we?

We’re the team behind the Necronomicon Discord community, run by Harry, Elliot, and Callum. We’re just three people who decided to try to create a Discord-based community after we indulged in the Call of Cthulhu RPG.

The atmospheric-driven horror of the unknown catered to our group perfectly, giving us the motivation and drive to form a wider group of people with the same interests. We wanted to create an easy way for players and Keepers to communicate, as well as allowing new people to get into Call of Cthulhu in a friendly and support-driven environment. We have a dedicated staff team who are just as passionate as we are, helping us throughout the building and shaping of our community. Newcomers to Call of Cthulhu have been able to find games easily through our custom bot.

With the community’s support, we decided we couldn’t miss the opportunity to help those less fortunate than ourselves by doing a live stream for Leukaemia Care. Together, we feel that as a community we can achieve this goal.

What is this event and what are we hoping to achieve with it?

We’re doing a 24-hour live stream on Twitch.tv/necronomicondiscord for the charity, Leukaemia Care. A variety of different activities have been planned for the stream such as: a live scenario hosted by a special guest from the community, interviews, Q&As, games, and a lot more, all for a good cause. Special guests will include but are not limited to, Scott Dorward and Lynne Hardy!

By planning and hosting this event for the community, we hope to raise a large amount of money for Leukaemia Care in order to help families and individuals who suffer from the various forms of the disease. As well as the fundraising, we also want to improve awareness of the condition, its symptoms and treatment, in the hope that we will be able to enhance people’s understanding of the illness and the lives of those dealing with it.

What is Leukaemia Care?

Leukaemia Care is a charity that helps patients that have been affected by blood cancer receive the information, advice, and support they need; it helps their friends and family cope with the diagnosis and treatment, too. On top of that, it also funds research into leukaemia to find ways to detect it earlier, and to make it easier to treat and cure once diagnosed. The charity helps provide information through booklets and support groups, as well as backing research through clinical trials and more. Information on what the charity does can be located on their website: https://www.leukaemiacare.org.uk/

Good friend of the Good Friends Cory Welch has been in touch with some exciting news:

The Midwest cabal of the Chaosium Cult of Chaos is back. We will be running our highly regarded performance of the incredible multi-table Call of Cthulhu scenario, Gatsby and the Great Race, penned by 7th Edition co-author Paul Fricker, at Gamehole Con VI! This classic and must-play blowout scenario will commence at the Alliant Energy Exhibition Hall in Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday, November 10th, 2018 at 2 PM!

We’re going straight for the cat’s pyjamas and opening it up to 5 tables — yes, 30 investigators — for this very special and unique RPG event. We’ve updated the scenario with the maddening excitement of the 7th Edition rules… RSVP your invite for Julian Gatsby’s decadent 1930 blowout!

Chaosium will be generously providing prizes for the event, so come out and trade your best insane roleplay for some POSH swag… In addition to a very special souvenir of the event for a few lucky few players! For more information on reserving your spot and for other awesome games, check out Gamehole Con’s home page.

We’ll see you there!