Episode 214: Sword and Sorcery part 1

We’re back and we’re puzzling over the riddle of steel. Is it an enigma? Maybe some clever bit of wordplay? It’s probably safer if we stick to swordplay, especially with all these sorcerers around. They seem to be allergic to steel. It brings them out in stab wounds. There’s a reason why they call it “sword and sorcery” and not “word and sorcery”.

Main Topic: Sword and Sorcery

This episode is the first of our two-part examination of the genre of sword and sorcery. You can find part two here. “But why are you doing this on a Call of Cthulhu podcast?” we hear an imaginary listener ask. While we hope the episode more than answers this, it’s probably worth explaining here too.

Sword and sorcery and the Cthulhu Mythos were birthed from the same otherworldy womb and bear more than a passing familial resemblance. Not only were the first tales of each published alongside each other in Weird Tales, but they often sprang from the same pens. Some of the best-known entities of the Mythos slithered out of sword and sorcery tales, and other such stories borrowed from the Mythos in turn.

But it’s not just the content of the stories we get into here. The structure, pace and sheer bloody weirdness can also inform our games. A good sword and sorcery story is quick and brutal. How can we bring that to the gaming table, short of punching our players in the face?


Things we mention in this episode include:


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2 comments on “Sword and Sorcery part 1

  1. Martin Rebensteiger Aug 4, 2021

    Excellent show. I look forward to part two and to the upcoming Robert E Howard episode.My only complaint with this one was the repeated mispronunciation of Fritz Leiber’s name. It’s pronounced with a long “i” sound (“LYE-ber”) not a long “e.”

  2. You’ve ignored the greatest work of Sword and Sorcery ever written: “The Eye of Argon” by Jim Theis.

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