The Haunter of the Dark (part 1)

This week we talk about HP Lovecraft’s final story, The Haunter of the Dark. In particular, we look at it with a gamer’s eye (we’ll put it back when we’re done), breaking down various aspects and discussing how they can be used in games. There’s not much in the way of literary analysis — we leave that to the far better qualified HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast.

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Three-lobed burning eye not included

Well, we actually get to most of the gaming discussion next episode — we found so much to say that we’ve split the episode in two, and this part covers The Haunter of the Dark and the two related Robert Bloch stories, The Shambler from the Stars and The Shadow from the Steeple. All three stories are published in Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, or you can find the two Bloch stories in Mysteries of the Worm.

You may notice an improvement in sound quality. This is the first recording with our shiny new Blue Yeti microphone, and it sounds much better to us.

 

The Cthulhu Mythos Skill

This week we discuss the Cthulhu Mythos skill in Call of Cthulhu: what it represents, how it works mechanically and what is new about it in 7th edition. The discussion is thoroughly unwholesome and touches upon many repellent and forbidden secrets. Matt is a bad influence when it comes to poking our noses into things man was not meant to know.

1D4 SAN loss with every sip

1D4 SAN loss with every sip

Leave your sanity at the door and come and join us as we listen to the whispers from between the stars. With any luck there will be fewer of those next week, once we start recording with the new microphone.

David Cronenberg

This week’s episode is a discussion of the films of David Cronenberg and how his unique style of reality-bending body horror has influenced us and our games.

If this doesn't happen at least once, you're not playing one of Scott's games

If this doesn’t happen to you at least once, you’re not playing one of Scott’s games

While we go through most of Cronenberg’s back catalogue, we focus on three of his films: Shivers (AKA They Came from Within), Scanners and Videodrome. Videodrome in particular has seeped into all our brains, changing them forever.

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This is how we develop all our games now

So please join us in a celebration of the wild imagination and startling imagery of one of the most distinctive film-makers of our age. Your new flesh awaits!

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This episode is also available as an MP3

PS And as Paul just reminded me…

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Insanity in Call of Cthulhu

This latest episode is all about insanity in gaming. No, that doesn’t mean we’re going to talk about that bloke in your group who always plays lesbian ninja stripper catgirls, even in Call of Cthulhu campaigns.

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Remember when he turned up to the game in costume?

Instead, we discuss real-world mental illness and how it relates (or doesn’t) to insanity in Call of Cthulhu, how insanity has traditionally been handled in Call of Cthulhu, mechanical changes to the insanity rules in 7th edition and how other games deal with madness.

There is the usual amount of digression, reminiscence and general irrelevance, but we think we’ve managed to provide some interesting ideas you can work into your games. And even if that isn’t the case, think of it as your chance to join us in a group therapy session. Maybe next time Paul can lead us through some art therapy.

The Mythos as Corruption

This episode we have a rambling discussion on the theme of “The Cthulhu Mythos as corruption”. While the Mythos and associated games are packed full of cool monsters, it is also an ineffable alien presence that taints the minds and bodies it touches.

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OK, maybe not that bad.

We talk about body horror, moral corruption and the effect on the fragile human mind of exposure to the truly alien. Our angle on this is much more gaming than Lovecraft scholarship, so you may come away with a few interesting ideas to try out in your next Call of Cthulhu game. Just remember to wash your hands afterwards.