Mythos Deities: Shub-Niggurath

Main Topic: Shub-Niggurath

We’re back and we’re dancing around in the woods, bleating with ecstasy, smearing our mutating bodies with Mother’s milk. This episode is our discussion of the Lovecraftian deity, Shub-Niggurath. It is part of our ongoing look at the gods of the Mythos, continuing from our recent episode about Dagon.

Shub-Niggurath appealed to us greatly, as she is so loosely defined in the original fiction. Her evocative soubriquet of The Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young has inspired many writers since Lovecraft to find interesting uses for her. Her roles and identities in games and fiction are almost as numerous as her progeny.

In our discussion, we try to pin down where Shub-Niggurath came from and how she has grown and mutated in fiction and RPGs. We then build on this to offer some ideas about how you could use Shub-Niggurath in your own games. Her role as a corrupted and corrupting force of nature and her connection to witch cults make her suitably fecund inspiration, birthing many abominable ideas.

News

First of all, apologies for the delay to our normal fortnightly release schedule. As we mention in the episode, illness has made it difficult for us to meet recently. We’re back on track now, and we’ll continue releasing episodes every two weeks from this point. We hope you enjoyed the last of our special episodes from Necronomicon 2017, which we used to plug the gap.

Into the Darkness have released the first episode of their playthrough of the Intersections campaign from the World War Cthulhu: Cold War core book. Matt, who wrote the campaign, is the Keeper in a somewhat more American take on the game than we normally see.

As we announced recently, there is a new edition of The Blasphemous Tome in the works. This is the fanzine we produce for the wonderful people who back us on Patreon. We’re putting out an open call for submissions. If you have a short article (300-1,000 words) or some black-and-white artwork that you think would fit the Tome, we would love to see it. You can submit work using the contact form on this very website.

We also offer a fresh warning about the dangers of Attract Fish, especially if it involves kissing a Dover sole. Just don’t do it, kids.

Other Stuff

Be warned, there is singing in this episode, or at least something approximating it. As regular listeners will know, we rely on the generosity of our Patreon backers to fund the show. One of the ways we give thanks to them is to sing the praises of our $5 backers. This episode sees two such songs. Not having met for some weeks, we had a lot of pent-up creative energy. I think the sounds we produced this time number amongst our strangest emissions.

We had a request for an unedited version of the live podcast we did with the Miskatonic University Podcast, so here it is. The version we released previously has some inserts from Paul where he describes what precisely Chad is doing with all those puppets. It also uses the audience questions from the MUP’s recording, as theirs did a better job of capturing what people asked.

Necronomicon 2017 live with the Miskatonic University Podcast

Necronomicon 2017 live recording with the Miskatonic University Podcast

Our recent visit to the Necronomicon convention in Providence was a blur of wonders. One of the highlights was finally getting to meet our friends from the Miskatonic University Podcast in the suspiciously waxy flesh. While there, we merged our podcasts like two pulsating balls of protoplasm and created something unhallowed. This recording is the result.

The main topic we settled on was “How to make your game more Lovecraftian”. We split into teams of two and tackled various aspects of the discussion, including settings, themes and monsters. Of course, we digressed significantly, but I think we still got to the ripe meat of the main question.

All that almost felt anticlimactic after the puppet show, however. Yes, you will be listening to Keeper Chad performing with a variety of strange, semi-human simulacra. Supply your own punchline. His talk is lively and informative, and worth hearing even without the visual component.

And speaking of puppets, while Jon Hook was unable to join us in person, he still managed to manifest in a suitably disturbing manner. I have suggested that even if he is available next time, Chad should still be charged with operating Jon’s jaw.

Many thanks to Derek Robertson, Tim McGonagle and Adam Alexander for sharing their photographs of the event. Thank you also to Mike Mason for chairing the discussion. And, most of all, thank you very much to everyone who came to see us at the event! See you again in 2019!

Pacing in Horror Games

We’re back and we’re putting ourselves through our paces. Over on our Google+ Community, Tore Nielsen recently asked us to explain a little more about how we handle pacing in games. It’s a topic we touched upon back in our discussion of Beginnings, Middles and Ends. We hope there is enough new material here to justify a new episode. We certainly found plenty to say on the subject.

Paul making strange noises

And anyway, people are normally more interested in shutting us up.

Main Topic

Controlling the pace is an essential part of being a GM, especially for horror games. Nothing kills the sense of dread more than long, drawn-out conversations about rules or possible strategies. Similarly, rattling through a scene too fast makes it difficult to build any atmosphere. It is not always easy to tell if you should be speeding your game up or slowing it down. It’s even harder to actually make this happen. We share what tips we’ve learnt during our horrifyingly many years at the gaming table.

I swear I still had skin when we started this campaign.

News

Our news segment is somewhat brief this time. We are not long back from our trip to Necronomicon in Providence and simply haven’t had a chance to meet and record inserts. Paul has provided a short solo update to tide you over. There is so much we want to tell you about our visit to the US, however, and we promise to do so next episode. The short version is that we met many wonderful people and had a delightful time.

Although not everyone we met was alive at the time.

If you want to get some idea of what we got up to before next episode, we have posted some videos documenting our adventures. There are a couple more still to come, so keep an eye out on our YouTube channel.

Other Stuff

Our inability to meet this week also stopped us recording our usual thanks to new Patreon backers. We have two new songs bubbling away, ready to serve up to new patrons and splashed wantonly over the rest of you. They shall have to wait until next episode, however. That may prove a mercy, as our voices have been made even more gravelly and inhuman by jet lag and con crud. You are safe until September.