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.

The Call of Cthulhu part 2

We’re back and we’re still being haunted by those hellish dreams surfacing from lost R’yeh like bubbles of pure madness. This is the second part of our discussion of Lovecraft’s classic weird tale, The Call of Cthulhu. Last episode we talked about the first two acts of the story. This time, we wrap up the synopsis, discuss adaptations and influences, and look for gaming inspiration. There are a surprising number of elements of the story that have seen little examination in RPGs, despite its fame.

Including what kind of saving throw you would need to avoid contracting piles from spending strange aeons squatting on a cold stone plinth.

No discussion of The Call of Cthulhu would be complete without a look at the 2005 film by the HP Lovecraft Historical Society. This is the definitive adaptation, faithful to Lovecraft in a way few other films even attempt. Happily, Sean Branney and Andrew Leman of the HPLHS were able to join us for an extended interview. They offer their thoughts on the story and insights into how the film was made. They also share a few tantalising details of current and future projects. One of the most ambitious of these — an audiobook of Lovecraft’s complete fiction — is available for pre-order now.

Time and holidays have worked against us this episode. We were unable to meet to record our usual last-minute inserts. This means that the news segment is shorter than usual. We still managed to slip in a mention of the new Kickstarter campaign for Sandy Petersen’s Cthulhu Wars Onslaught 3. We were unsure of the launch date when we recorded, but the campaign has now started.

Enough new playing pieces to rupture the fabric of space/time itself.

The other result of our inability to meet was a further delay in thanking new backers. A number of generous people have pledged money via Patreon recently and we promise to thank them all next episode. Two of them (so far) have backed us at the $5 level, which means we shall sing to them. Expect a pair of sanity-blasting exultations of horror next time!