We’re back and we’re playing favourites. Sure, we love you all, but you do understand, right? And we also have favourite films, books and RPGs too, some of which were created within the last 10 years. We know that a lot of other people have taken the end of the decade as an opportunity to create similar lists, but we”re different! For a start, we’re doing it over a month later than everyone else.

Main Topic: The Best of the 2010s

In many respects, the 2010s were a terrible decade. We’ve seen political upheavals that will affect the world for generations, an ecological crisis that will affect it for even longer, and, worst of all, David Bowie died. It’s all been a bit shit, really.

But there has been some good stuff too. The 2010s were a boom time for media in general, and horror in particular. We have been living through a golden age of genre books, films and television. In this episode, we pick our favourites from each of these categories, explaining why we think our choice deserves to be held up as the best.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

Wounds cover

News

Concrete Cow 20

Concrete Cow 20 will take place on Saturday the 14th of March. This is Milton Keynes’ own one-day RPG convention, held in the Old Bath House in Wolverton. Tickets are £5 on the door. All three of us will be there and we would love to see you!

Concrete Cow logo

Masks of Nyarlathotep on How We Roll

Scott has been running the Peru chapter of Masks of Nyarlathotep for the How We Roll podcast, with an all-star cast of guests. Players include Seth Skorkowsky, Keeper Murph from the Miskatonic University Podcast, Veronica from Cthulhu and Friends, and Eoghan and Joe from How We Roll. The first few episodes are already available, with new horrors seeping out every few weeks thereafter.

Episode 174: Midsommar

We’re back and we’re on our Midsommar holiday. Happily, we don’t have anything as horrific as Cliff Richard to contend with. It’s only the usual festivals, drugs and human sacrifice. The locals seem nice enough, although Paul’s comments about their music might be getting to them. Oh well. What’s the worst that could happen?

According to Matt, being made to watch this film.

Main Topic: Midsommar

This episode is our look at the 2019 American/Swedish folk horror film, Midsommar. It is an unusually sun-drenched horror, long in running time and short on action. As you might imagine, this led to some disagreement amongst us as to whether it is the best film of the year or slightly less fun than root canal.

If you don’t like it, just put something else on…

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

On the back: “Having a wonderful time, wish you were here!”

News

Matt at ConTingency

Once again, Matt is heading off to the seaside. There is no finer time to visit the east coast of Great Britain than late January. The North Sea always has a warm welcome waiting for you. Matt, however, will be spending his time indoors, playing games. This is his annual pilgrimage to ConTingency, the extended residential convention that has now moved to Hunstanton in Norfolk. If you are attending the convention, be sure to sign up to his games and set fire to all the NPCs.

Smart Party Dragonmeet Seminar

When Paul visited Dragonmeet late last year, he joined Mike Mason and our good friends from the Smart Party for a seminar. They discussed ideas about how to be a better player, some extending beyond bringing snacks and not falling asleep at the table. You can find a recording of the seminar at the Smart Party’s website.

Rivers of London RPG

The other bit of excitement at Dragonmeet was the announcement of the forthcoming Rivers of London RPG from Chaosium. Based on the Peter Grant police procedural/urban fantasy novels by Ben Aaronovitch, the game will use a version of BRP customised by our very own Paul Fricker. More news as it becomes available.

The Whisperer in Darkness

We also briefly mention the audio adaptation of Lovecraft’s “The Whisperer in Darkness” that the BBC is releasing as a podcast. This follows on from their previous adaptation of “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward”. In both cases, the events are presented as an investigative podcast, complete with hints of connections to the wider Mythos. You can also access these programmes through the BBC Sounds app.

We’re back and we’re looking for strange and interesting people. Sure, that drunken man on the bus who shared the details of his entire family’s military history before announcing that he loved us is memorable, but does he have what it takes to become a great Call of Cthulhu NPC? Well, bad example. He’s totally going in our next game. But our point is that when planning historical games, it can be helpful to research some real people. Or take a bus ride in Milton Keynes. Great NPCs can be found everywhere.

The true home of horror.

Main Topic: Great NPCs of History

This is our attempt to find interesting and overlooked figures from history and explore how they might make great NPCs for our Call of Cthulhu games. We had a great deal of fun preparing and recording this episode, so it may become a regular format. We will at least have to record one more episode anyway, as we ran out of time and couldn’t include everyone we wanted to.

What we lack in quantity, we try to make up for in quality.

Be warned that the latter half of the episode gets weird. One of our subjects was a medical innovator who did things to human bodies that might make you uncomfortable. Then again, isn’t that exactly what you want in a Call of Cthulhu NPC?

Surely the last place you’d expect to encounter any weird medical experiments…

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

And now, drink to forget…

News

Grogmeet and ‘zines

Late last year, Paul attended Grogmeet. This is the gaming convention organised by our good friends at The Grognard Files podcast, taking place at Fanboy3 in Manchester. Paul offers a brief overview of the convention and some titbits about what he got up to there. Dirk the Dice also interviewed Paul for the podcast, and we will link to the recording when it is available.

Dirk sent Paul home with some presents for us all. As well as a copy each of The Pseudo-Nymph, the ‘zine Dirk edited in the 1990s, he also gave us an issue of The Hardcore, which Scott co-edited around the same time. Oh, the memories this brings back!

We’re back and we’re poking around this hole in the ground we discovered. Some more experienced adventurers told us to be prepared, so we have a 10-foot pole, 50 foot of rope and all the lamp oil we can carry. We weren’t quite sure what iron rations are, so we hope we can get by with sucking on a handful of nails. With any luck, this means we’re now prepared for any eventuality.

All these mentions of dragons were metaphorical, right?

Main Topic: The Appeal of D&D

Dungeons & Dragons may seem a little off-topic for a horror podcast, but we stand by our decision. As Paul is so fond of reminding us, it’s where all the other games we love ultimately came from. Our discussion mainly takes the form of a highly subjective exploration of what we do and don’t like about D&D, and some thoughts about its longevity and recent renaissance. And a lot of it is just Matt complaining.

Save versus kvetching

Links

Some of the things we mention in this episode include:

News

Merry Christmas!

OK, not exactly news, but still topical. We would like to wish the maximum safe level of festive cheer to all our listeners! And try not to worry about those strange noises coming from your chimney.

This year, everyone is on Santa’s naughty list.

The Blasphemous Tome issue 5

At the time of posting, you have a week left to secure your copy of issue 5 of The Blasphemous Tome. All you need to do is back us on Patreon before the end of the year.

The Tome is the print-only fanzine we produce exclusively for our Patreon backers. This issue features a new scenario for Call of Cthulhu, called “Number 22”, written by very our own Matt Sanderson. You will also find plenty of other juicy articles, stories and artwork, including many contributions from our wonderful listeners!

Other Stuff

Songs

This episode represents a landmark in the history of the Good Friends. As we’ve mentioned before, we are discontinuing the songs we sing to new Patreon backers. The final such song can be heard in this episode. As much fun as they have been to do, it has become progressively harder not to get stale. Also, we really can’t sing. Thank you to everyone we have sung to over the years and we hope that you can forgive us.

We’re back and we’re cracking open the books, trying to ignore the strange wails they issue as we do so. The words probably shouldn’t scurry across the page like that. Maybe we’re lucky and they’re just bookworms. Whatever they are, we wish they would stop whispering such horrible things.

In practice, most bookworms simply ask for directions to Matt’s house.

Main Topic: Mythos Tomes

It’s taken a long time but we’ve finally tackled one of the most important topics in Call of Cthulhu: Mythos tomes. Hell, our website takes its name from the most famous one of all.

Although maybe not quite this edition.

We spend a little time talking about how we might use Mythos tomes in our Call of Cthulhu games, how they work mechanically and what new and interesting tomes we might create. Matt’s shrieks of anguish as we discuss players who burn eldritch texts are worth the price of admission on their own.

Links

Some of the things we mention in this episode include:

And you thought the SAN loss from the Necronomicon was bad…

News

“Number 22” Playtest

Matt briefly discusses his recent playtest of his scenario, “Number 22”, as found in the new issue of The Blasphemous Tome. We offer places in playtests like this to our Patreon backers first of all. If you are a backer, do check your feed or email for announcements such as this one.

Flotsam & Jetsam Organised Play Campaign

The final part of the Flotsam & Jetsam organised play campaign for Call of Cthulhu is due out less than a week after this episode. If you want to give it a try, simply sign up for the Cult of Chaos programme. You can even earn some cool rewards for doing so!

The Blasphemous Tome issue 5

Issue 5 of The Blasphemous Tome is now in the post, but there is still time to secure your copy if you act quickly. All you need to do is back us on Patreon before the end of the year.

The Tome is the print-only fanzine we produce exclusively for our Patreon backers. This issue features a new scenario for Call of Cthulhu, called “Number 22”, written by very our own Matt Sanderson. You will also find plenty of other juicy articles, stories and artwork, including many contributions from our wonderful listeners!

Other Stuff

Songs

As part of this retooling, we are also discontinuing the songs we sing to new Patreon backers. This is probably an act of mercy. While they’ve been fun to do, the joke is wearing thin. Thank you to everyone we’ve sung to and we hope the mental scars fade with time!

You will find a couple of our final abominations in this episode. Be warned.