Special Episode: Conspiracy Theories and Cults with Bence Szlamka (part 1)

In our recent episodes about cults, we mentioned how social media has blurred the line between cults and conspiracy theories. Phenomena like QAnon display many cult-like attributes but lack formal leadership. We thought it would be interesting to dig into this a little more.

As none of us knows much about modern conspiracy theories, we turned to our good friend Bence Szlamka for help. Those of you on our Discord server will know Bence as TRNSHMN, one of the moderators there. While Bence is clear that he is not a scholar, he has spent a great deal of time studying conspiracy theories. Scott talked to Bence for a couple of hours, delving into the darker corners of QAnon, the anti-vaccination movement, flat-Earthers, and other cult-like conspiracy theories.

While we tried to keep the tone relatively light, some of these conspiracy theories revolve around unpleasant ideas. QAnon, especially, embraces various beliefs about the abuse, trafficking and sacrifice of children. We avoid going into too much detail, but be warned that we at least touch upon these subjects. In the end, however, this is an RPG podcast, and our focus is to find inspiration for our games.

This turned into quite a long discussion, so we have split it into two episodes. Join us in a fortnight for the conclusion, when Bence and Scott talk about some even stranger contemporary conspiracy theories.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

QAnon logo

Episode 191: Mythos Deities: Nodens

We’re back and we’re poking around this here abyss. Someone told us we could find Nodens down here. It’s not pleasant work looking for him, however. The cold has left us quite hoary and there are endless bloody nightgaunts flapping around and getting in the way. Maybe we should have checked that other site on the Welsh border instead. Oh well. We’ll just have to write our complaints on some lead tablets and toss them into the deep. We’re sure Nodens has nothing better to do than read them.

Main Topic: Nodens

This is the latest instalment in our ongoing series about the deities of the Cthulhu Mythos. Previous subjects include Dagon, Shub-Niggurath, Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathotep and Azathoth. This time, we’re delving deep into the abyss to learn about hoary Nodens, charting his progress from obscure Celtic deity to the public face of the Elder Gods.

Once again, the lockdown means we recorded this episode remotely. We think we’re getting the hang of this.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

Nodens in Myth

Nodens in Lovecraft

Nodens in Call of Cthulhu

News

Final Lockdown Special

With lockdown easing around the world, we are suspending our run of backer specials. Do check out last week’s final episode about television if you haven’t done so already. Backing us at any level will grant you instant access to this episode and the entire back catalogue.

Full Fathom Five Available

Paul’s seafaring scenario, “Full Fathom Five”, is now available from DriveThruRPG! This is a rollicking adventure set aboard a whaling vessel in the 19th century, packed with blood, excitement and period detail.

Scott on Without a Net

Scott recently appeared on the Out of Character spin-off of the Without a Net podcast. He and host Jupiter Sanders talked about HP Lovecraft and how his life shaped his creations. This is a meaty discussion.

UNLAND on Ain’t Slayed Nobody

Scott also recently recorded another game with Ain’t Slayed Nobody, as a special crossover with How We Roll. He ran his scenario “UNLAND” from the Stygian Fox anthology, Fear’s Sharp Little Needles. The first part will be available on the 22nd of September.

The Blasphemous Tome 5.5 now available

Issue 5.5 of The Blasphemous Tome is now available! This is the PDF-only interim edition of the Tome that we publish mid-year. The latest issue contains an all-new scenario by Scott Dorward called “The Murder Shack”, dripping with blood, ichor and despair. You will also find articles by the Good Friends and some of our wonderful listeners, as well as artwork from Evan Dorkin, John Sumrow, Jonathan Wyke and many others. Anyone backing us on Patreon at any level will be able to download a copy, as well as issue 4.5, which contains an original scenario by our very own Paul Fricker.

We’re back with the last of our current run of lockdown specials. As COVID restrictions are lifting and people are emerging from their homes, blinking at the light like molemen, we thought we would at least pause production.

This episode is another scan through the dial on our televisions, looking for ideas for games. Not that our televisions have dials. Or, in the case of one of us, that we even own televisions.

These lockdown episodes have been a way of thanking our Patreon backers for sticking with us through these difficult times. We are releasing them on the off-weeks between our normal episodes.

If you would like to gain access to these special episodes, simply back us on Patreon at any level. We will continue to release our standard episodes every fortnight as usual.

If you are already a backer, you will find a post in your Patreon feed with a download link. The episode will also appear in our special Patreon RSS feed.

Things we mention in this episode include:

Issue 5.5 of The Blasphemous Tome is now available!

This is the interim digital edition of the fanzine that we create for Patreon backers of The Good Friends of Jackson Elias podcast. It contains articles about RPGs, horror films and weird fiction, not to mention plenty of sanity-blasting artwork and original content for the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game.

Everyone backing us via Patreon gain access to a PDF copy of the Tome.

Featured in this issue is a new Call of Cthulhu scenario by our very own Scott Dorward, titled “The Murder Shack”.

Last year, a gruesome mass murder occurred in a remote woodland cabin. A group of innocent people were gutted with an old farm implement and their murderer took his own life. Now, a stranger has appeared saying that she has a message from beyond the grave, saying all is not as it seems. What is the terrible secret of the Murder Shack? Is history doomed to repeat? And is everything there as dead as it appears to be?

The cover comes from our good friend Jonathan Wyke, whose work adorns many of our past issues. We also have illustrations from some favourite eldritch artists, including Danial Carroll, Evan Dorkin, Lucy Fricker, Nefeli Mandilaras and John Sumrow.

Other articles in this issue include:

  • A Brief History of Dunwich
    • Matt tells us the secrets of the real Dunwich
  • The Thorned Ones
    • Danial Carroll offers a sinister twist on the monster we created in our episode on Making a Monster
  • The Murder Shack
    • A brand new, full-length Call of Cthulhu scenario by Scott Dorward
  • The Impossible Barber
    • Grant Dowell mutates another logical paradox into cosmic horror
  • Rudimentary Peni
    • Piers Connolly explores whether music can be a form of Lovecraftian horror
  • Secrets of Milton Keynes
    • Scott offers more unwholesome insight into the spiritual home of the Good Friends
Tomes from years gone by

Please note that we do not sell copies of The Blasphemous Tome. It is purely a reward for the wonderful people who back us via Patreon.

The Blasphemous Tome is licensed for the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game by Chaosium, inc.

We’re back and we’re joining a cult. It’s OK — we’re just doing so to get some background on Sound of My Voice. We’re not so gullible as to let any cult leader talk us into doing something unwise. Our reasons for strapping you to this altar are, um, completely our own. Now, stop squirming.

Main Topic: Sound of My Voice

Following our run of episodes about cults, we thought we’d follow up with a look at a related film. Sound of My Voice is a 2011 independent production from Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling. Regardless of what Matt may tell you, this is an ambiguous story about a cult leader who claims to have come back from 2054 to prepare the faithful for the dark world to come. While it’s not a horror film, it does present an interesting view of life inside a weird cult. That has to be good for some Call of Cthulhu inspiration. This may also be the most divisive film we’ve discussed since Repulsion.

Once again, the lockdown means we recorded this episode remotely. We think we’re getting the hang of this.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

More Lockdown Specials

We are still releasing fortnightly lockdown specials, discussing films, books and television you might find inspirational to your gaming lives. If you are already backing us on Patreon, check your feed. Otherwise, backing us at any level will grant you instant access to the back catalogue.

Fairyland on Ain’t Slayed Nobody

The Ain’t Slayed Nobody podcast has now released the final part of “Fairyland“, the Cthulhu Dark scenario that Scott ran for them. Be warned that things get nasty, especially towards the end.