Episode 120 – The Good Friends play back The Stone Tape

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The Stone Tape

The Stone Tape

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We’re back and we’re watching in helpless terror as echoes of the dead past haunt us, screaming endlessly. This is our look at the classic 1972 British horror film, The Stone Tape. Fittingly, the BBC originally broadcast it as a ghost story for Christmas. We may be a day late on that front, but the nights are still cold and dark, and the air filled with ancient menace.

And weird dancing lights, for some reason.

Although not explicitly Lovecraftian, The Stone Tape shares some themes with Lovecraft’s work, especially in its scientific investigation of the unknown. This is not too surprising, considering the script was written by Nigel Kneale of Quatermass fame _who we mentioned in episode 5). His work is always easy to mine for Call of Cthulhu inspiration, and we cheerfully do so in this episode.

“If you can write a stat block for the Colour Out of Space, you should be able to manage a bunch of spooky lights.”

News

At the time of posting, you only have around 24 hours to back the Idol of Cthulhu Kickstarter Campaign. This features a new scenario from our very own Matt Sanderson, adding new layers of horror to Lovecraft’s tale, The Call of Cthulhu.

And speaking of time-limited offers, you have less than a week to act if you would like a copy of issue 3 of The Blasphemous Tome, the 1980s-style fanzine we produce for our Patreon backers. This is the first issue to be licensed by Chaosium and features a brand-new, fully statted scenario for Pulp Cthulhu. If you would like a copy, simply back us at any pledge level by the end of 2017. The Tome will then find its way into your hands, as if by eldritch and unwholesome magic.

Our good friends over at Chaosium have announced an exciting new scheme. The Miskatonic Repository allows Call of Cthulhu fans to publish and sell their own material, subject to editorial approval. Chaosium have even provided templates and art packs to make the process easier. The first publications are already available, with many more in the pipeline.

And, in a Christmas miracle, Patreon have cancelled the changes to their fee structures. Backers will not be charged extra processing fees, and will continue to pay only the amount they pledge. Even so, we will continue to investigate alternative options for backers. Watch this space for updates.

Other Stuff

We are still working our way through a long list of people to sing our thanks to. This is our hideous way of praising those brave people who back us on Patreon at the $5 level. For reasons of basic human decency, we limit ourselves to two songs per episode. The recent surge of backers brought on by the new Blasphemous Tome means shall we be singing for many episodes to come.

 

Posted in Horror Films, Television, The Blasphemous Tome, The Good Friends of Jackson Elias | 3 Comments

Episode 119 – The Good Friends get more of that old-time Mythos religion

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The Mythos as Religion (Part 2)

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We’re back and we’re starting a cult. No, worse than that — we’re starting three of them! Last episode, we looked at how real religions and their practices might inform our depiction of Mythos sects in Call of Cthulhu. Now we’re taking things one step further. Building on what we’ve learnt, we try to picture what life might look like from within these sects. Then we create three Mythos sects of our own, trying to use our understanding of religion to give them more complex agendas and practices than the usual sacrifices and summonings. We also offer some context by talking about our own religious backgrounds and how they might have shaped our beliefs and prejudices.

We’re traditionalists, on the whole.

News

As Matt mentioned recently, on this very site, he has been asked by Delphes Desvoivres to write a Call of Cthulhu scenario as part of the Idol of Cthulhu Kickstarter campaign. This scenario will be a follow-up to Lovecraft’s story, The Call of Cthulhu, running approximately 20,000 words. It may grow to a more cyclopean stature, depending on stretch goals. The campaign ends on the 27th of December, so act quickly if you want your New Year to be filled with unhallowed idolatry.

You may have seen posts in your social media feeds expressing dissatisfaction with Patreon’s new charging scheme. Patreon have shifted their fees from content creators to patrons, increasing them in the process. While there seem to be some understandable reasons for this, they have handled the entire situation poorly. More importantly, it disproportionately hurts backers who make smaller pledges. As a result, we are currently investigating alternatives to run alongside Patreon, allowing greater choice for backers. We will keep you posted as this develops.

There will be a slight delay in getting issue 3 of The Blasphemous Tome fanzine to our Patreon backers. We received the first batch of the print run late last week, only to discover that it was missing four pages. Getting this resolved shouldn’t take too long and we still hope to get the Tome to most of you before the end of the year. Some backers will receive their Christmas cards ahead of the Tome, as we didn’t want to miss last posting dates. If your envelope is suspiciously Tomeless, don’t worry — our unspeakable blasphemies shall take to the ghoul winds and find their way to you soon.

Other Stuff

There will be a lot of singing over the next few months. Thanks to the imminent release of the third Blasphemous Tome, we have had a surge of new Patreon backers. Many of these people have been generous and brave enough to pledge at the $5 level. This means that we currently have a backlog of around 10 people to praise through song. Putting more than two songs in an episode risks our vocal cords, your sanity and the very fabric of the universe. It is only prudent for us to work our way through these thanks cautiously. With great cacophony comes great responsibility. If you are still waiting, please bear with us — your song will come soon. Enjoy the sense of creeping dread until then.

Posted in Call of Cthulhu, Kickstarter, Roleplaying Games, The Blasphemous Tome, The Good Friends of Jackson Elias, Unholy Artefacts | 2 Comments

The Idol of Cthulhu Kickstarter

Good evening everyone!

At the time of writing, the Kickstarter for The Idol of Cthulhu has gone live!

I was contacted a little while ago by Delphes Desvoivres – the organizer of the Props of Nyarlathotep (New York & Kenya, London & Cairo) and Sedefkar Simulacrum Kickstarters – and invited to write a scenario that would accompany the Idol of Cthulhu sculpture that they plan to produce.

The scenario will be a sequel to the original The Call of Cthulhu story by HP Lovecraft. How long the scenario becomes will be determined by stretch goals for the campaign. The scenario will have multi-media components – the sculpture itself can be used as a key physical prop, and audio recordings will be provided by none other than the immensely talented HP Lovecraft Historical Society! Needless to say, I’m rather excited about this project and can’t wait to see how far it goes.

Stretch goals coming up include: maps of Providence and Rhode Island; cards featuring the likeness of the NPCs; expanded content for the scenario; creation of another prop for the scenario, the “Call of Cthulhu” manuscript, as written by the late Francis Wayland Thurston of Boston.

At the time of writing, the Kickstarter campaign went live about three hours ago and is more than 80% of the way to its initial target of €5,000, and has 20 days to run. The campaign ends on 27th December 2017.

Posted in Call of Cthulhu, Kickstarter | Leave a comment

Episode 118 – The Good Friends get some of that old-time Mythos religion

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The Mythos as Religion – part 1

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We’re back and we’re making offerings to twisted idols, praying in inhuman tongues and performing rites passed down through strange aeons. This is our look at the role religion plays in the Cthulhu Mythos. Specifically, we try to make sense of how worship of the Great Old Ones relates to more wholesome beliefs. To do so, we break down some of the common elements of world religions and see how they might map onto Mythos sects. We appreciate that this ventures into some sensitive areas and we try to remain respectful of the beliefs of others.

Mostly.

Our motivation is to try to make the cultists in our Call of Cthulhu games a little more three-dimensional. It’s easy to see a cultist as just a lunatic in a robe, waving a sacrificial dagger and trying to bring about the end of the world. Belief is a lot more complicated than that, however. Thinking about real religions can fill in some gaps in how we present these most common antagonists in our games. It’s very easy to dehumanise cultists, seeing them as little more than Call of Cthulhu‘s answer to orcs. By thinking about why they believe what they do and how they express these beliefs, we might be more inclined to interact with cultists in more interesting ways than just shooting them in the face.

Especially when there are so many other places you could shoot people.

This is the first of a two-part discussion. Next episode, we will build on what we have learned and think about how to make Mythos cults more interesting. We will also brainstorm a few original cults, armed with our new insights.

News

We are almost ready to go to press with issue 3 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is the annual fanzine we produce for those lovely people who back us on Patreon. And there is still time for you share in the horror! We will send copies to everyone who is a backer by the end of this year, although if you’re quick, you’ll also get one of our special Christmas cards in the same envelope. If you need any more encouragement, take a look at the gorgeous cover image that Jonathan Wyke has created for us.

And a quick reminder that at least some of us will be at Dragonmeet this weekend. Please track us down and say hello. We’ll leave a scent trail to assist you.

Oh, and we mention the great Fricker Halloween party of 2017. Unfortunately for us, Scott’s ill-advised dalliances with greasepaint and Paul’s unrecognisable octopus costume were captured by Mike Mason. Those of a sensitive disposition may wish to look away now.

We’ll be waiting for you in your nightmares.

Other Stuff

There are new songs in this episode, neither of which are ever likely to feature on Songs of Praise. We have had several new Patreon backers recently, possibly because of the imminent Blasphemous Tome. Once again, this means that we have built up a small backlog of people to sing to. Time constraints and common human decency mean that we limit ourselves to two songs per episode. If you are still waiting for your aural assault, it shouldn’t be too long now.

Posted in Call of Cthulhu, Roleplaying Games, The Blasphemous Tome, The Good Friends of Jackson Elias | 2 Comments

The Blasphemous Tome issue 3

Last chance for The Blasphemous Tome issue 3!

We currently putting the finishing touches to the latest issue of The Blasphemous Tome. This is the print-only fanzine we produce exclusively for Patreon backers of The Good Friends of Jackson Elias.

  • $1 backers will receive one copy
  • $3 backers will receive one signed copy
  • $5 backers will receive two copies, one of which will be signed

Barring last-minute delays, backers should receive their copies with their Christmas cards. It doesn’t get any more festive than that!

We plan on posting the Christmas cards on the 11th of December. That said, we will carry on sending copies of the Tome to anyone who becomes a backer before the end of the year.

The Blasphemous Tome issue 3 cover

What is The Blasphemous Tome?

The Blasphemous Tome is our attempt to recapture the spirit of gaming fanzines of the 1980s, staples, wonky layout and all. For maximum verisimilitude, we make Matt use Courier for the body text, even though this makes him cry. Some of the paste marks on the pages may actually be tear stains.

The Blasphemous Tome only exists in a physical form. There were no PDFs in the 1980s. They were dark times.

We print enough copies for our backers, with a few spares as prizes for charity raffles, review copies and the like.

What’s in this issue?

This issue sees the return of a few regular columns, as well as some new features. Once again, we also have contributions from our wonderful and talented listeners.

One major change is that this is the first Tome to be officially licensed by Chaosium! This means that we are able to include content specifically for Call of Cthulhu. We have taken advantage of this and written a new Pulp Cthulhu scenario, called A New Age of Wonders! As heavy snows descend, festivities at a ritzy New Year’s Eve party in Vermont soon turn to death and madness. The heroes will have to grapple with mad science, horrible monsters and a sinister plot that threatens humanity’s very existence.

And of course, we have art. The issue is filled with excellent and atmospheric work by Lucy Fricker, Daupo, Evlyn Moreau, Symon Leech and Linus Larsson.

Once again, we have an amazing cover from good friend of the Good Friends, Jonathan Wyke. Jonathan has illustrated many of the books we’ve done for Chaosium, and we are always excited to see him bring our fevered imaginings to unwholesome life.

Contents

  • Paul shares his fond memories of Necronomicon 2017
  • Matt Ryan and Noah Lloyd present two Great Old Ones of apocalyptic might
  • Paul, Matt and Scott discuss their favourite games of the past year in The Ludomancers
  • Matt makes your liver whimper for mercy in Cocktail Corner
  • Elina Gouliou suggests some unusual and piscine game concepts in Three Seafood LARPs
  • Paul examines another artefact of the 1970s in Vinyl Corner
  • Jason Janicki presents a shuddersome horror vignette called Technical Difficulties
  • In The Sanderson Collection, Matt discusses some limited editions of interest
  • Scott presents an overview of the Netflix Original horror films on offer
  • Matt punishes one of his misbehaving dice in Die, Die, Die!
  • Paul, Matt and Scott reminisce about their favourite recordings of the year in Episodes of Insanity
  • Matt earns more dirty looks from Scott in Plush of the Month
  • Trevor Hirst presents a nasty way to bind a group of investigators together in Something is Rotten in the Root Cellar
  • Scott reviews Nathan Ballingrud’s excellent short story collection, North American Lake Monsters

Getting your copy

We only produce The Blasphemous Tome for our Patreon backers. We do not sell copies directly.

If you want the latest issue, simply back us on Patreon at any level by the end of the year.

 

 

Posted in Call of Cthulhu, Roleplaying Games, Site News, The Blasphemous Tome | 3 Comments