We’re back and we’re puzzling over titles. If you were making a Gothic horror film about a haunted village, you might wisely consider a name like Curse of the Dead. Hell, if you wanted to cash in on the popularity of a more famous film, you could even rerelease it as Curse of the Living Dead. On the other hand, you might go for Operation Fear as something more unusual, although that is a bit too close to “Project Fear” for this post-Brexit age. If you were German, you may even consider The Dead Eyes of Dr Dracula, although you might struggle to explain why. On balance, maybe Kill, Baby… Kill! isn’t the worst title you could come up with, although it is close. Maybe another bump of cocaine will shake some inspiration loose.

Main Topic: Kill, Baby… Kill!

Building on last episode’s exploration of Gothic horror, we thought we’d follow up with a look at a film that typifies the genre. There are a great many films ostensibly linked to the Gothic, but far fewer that really embody both the tropes and the aesthetic. And, when you narrow things down in those terms, one director stands out: Mario Bava.

Kill, Baby… Kill! may not be particularly well known, but it turns up regularly on critics’ lists of the best horror films. It’s a strange affair, made on a ludicrously tight budget and largely improvised. As our hosts’ reactions demonstrate, it is not a film for everyone, Still, if you are a fan of classic Italian horror or just dreamlike atmosphere with flashes of weirdness, you’re in for a treat.

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Things we mention in this episode include:

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News

Matt at Con-Tingency

Matt will be attending the Con-Tingency convention in Hunstanton later this month. The convention officially runs between the 18th and 22nd of January, but unofficial games start whenever people arrive. Matt is probably there right now. While he is excited to be going, he has promised to take things easier than usual, given his ongoing convalescence. If you are there, please do say hi to him! And tell him to get some sleep.

Matt Nixon

While we were recording, we received a message telling us our old friend Matt Nixon had just died in hospital. This makes the last five minutes of the episode unusually sombre.

If you have attended more than a few British conventions over the past 25 years, you almost certainly knew Matt. “Larger than life” may be an overused phrase, but it’s hard to think of a better description. He was a compelling presence at every gathering — boisterous, gregarious and, sometimes, abrasive. Everyone who knew Matt could tell you a tale of him getting on their nerves or saying something ill-advised, but the chances are that they would then follow it up with a memory of Matt being kind, charming, or, at least, comically mischievous. Like everyone, he was a complicated individual.

Matt’s games were the stuff of legend. All three of us played with him whenever we could. He was a creative GM, never short of an idea, and his enthusiasm and love of shocking people made him a natural at running horror. This led to Matt becoming a member of the Kult of Keepers, the Call of Cthulhu GM collective that, indirectly, spawned 7th edition.

But, most of all, Matt was a character. Drunken conversations with him were a highpoint of any convention, as well as an endless source of anecdotes. Even when he was at his most provocative, the stories we told about him afterwards were usually accompanied by wry smiles.

All three of us shall miss Matt immensely. He has left a hole in the UK gaming world that only he could have filled.

We’re back and we’re skulking around the old ruined abbey. Sure, the place is lousy with ghosts, but they’re not really that important. We’re far more concerned with the weather. If reading Gothic horror has taught us anything, it’s that storms are caused by our own inner turmoil. Or is that the other way around? Maybe we could figure it out if all these bloody ghosts would just shut up. Why won’t the past just stay dead?

Main Topic: Gothic Horror

This episode is our attempt to understand what exactly Gothic horror is. We’ve often mentioned how Lovecraft’s early work was rooted in the Gothic, but we’ve never really explained what that means. Gothic horror is one of those genres that you know when you see it, but actually defining it can be tricky.

Happily, Matt has a degree in English, and part of his studies involved the history of Gothic literature. We imposed upon him to dig out some of his dusty old texts and explain what elements go into Gothic horror and how the genre stands apart from other forms of horror literature.

Things we mention in this episode include:

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News

Illusion Horror Con Seminars

Matt and Scott recently attended the Illusion Horror Con, taking part in seminars discussing horror GMing techniques, how to take inspiration from horror media, and the cosmology of the Kult RPG. All of these are now available for your streaming pleasure.

Paul’s Substack

Paul has started his own substack over at paulfricker.com, talking about the various projects he has on the go.

Rivers of London Launch at Dragonmeet

Paul attended Dragonmeet last month to promote the new Rivers of London RPG. He took part in a seminar on the topic, alongside Lynne Hardy and Ben Aaronovitch. While this was apparently recorded, it has yet to appear on YouTube. We shall update the show notes should this change.

The PDF of Rivers of London is out now, with printed copies due in the spring.

We’re back and we’re starting a moral panic. It’s good to have a hobby. While riling up frightened mobs isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, it certainly helps us unwind after a hard day’s podcasting. In order to start up a good moral panic, however, one really needs something to blame. And if cultural history has taught us anything, it’s that horror makes a terrific scapegoat. So let’s grab the pitchforks and storm the very concept of that spooky old castle on the hill!

Main Topic: Is Horror Dangerous?

This episode, we’re trying to work out why so many people are afraid of horror. No, hang on, let’s clarify that. Horror is supposed to scare you, but does that mean you should be afraid of it as a genre? Is there something dangerous about horror? Can it cause psychological or even physical harm? Does it lead to moral corruption or erode the fabric of society? And won’t someone please think of the children?!

Our discussion takes in such thorny topics as moral panics, censorship, religion, politics, suicide, PTSD, animal cruelty and Mary Whitehouse. You have been warned.

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

A Weekend With Good Friends

With the latest Weekend With Good Friends having just wrapped up, we take a few minutes to thank everyone who made it happen. Thanks especially to Chris, Martin, Bence and Jack for their sterling work in organising everything on the logistical and technical fronts, and thank you to Rina, Dave, Sue and Max for keeping things running smoothly throughout the convention itself. And thank you, of course, to everyone who attended and who ran games! It was a delightful weekend.

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Root on How We Roll

How We Roll has just started a new mini-campaign of the Root RPG. Joe and Scott join GM Adrian Tchaikovsky, running a scenario of his own devising, with guest players Paul Cornell and Lizbeth Myles (of Big Finish). This was spectacular fun, with cute but larcenous woodland critters caught in the middle of a war. It turned into all the best kinds of chaos!

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Paul on Frankenstein RPG Podcast

Paul made another guest appearance on the Frankenstein RPG podcast. Season 2 sees the panel stitching together the best possible science fiction RPG from pieces of other games. This episode tears strips of GM advice and scenarios from its screaming victims.

The Blasphemous Tome issue 10

Issue 10 of The Blasphemous Tome is about to enter layout! This means we’re on course to ship the first copies to our Patreon backers at the start of December. See either our Patreon page or the page about The Blasphemous Tome on this very website.

With this being another year-end issue, we see the return of a number of regular features. In The Ludomancers, we each share our favourite gaming experiences of 2022. Episodes of Insanity sees us discussing the episodes that most stood out to us this year. And, once again, Matt offers a recipe and a short history lesson in Cocktail Corner. The centrepiece, of course, is a brand new modern-day Call of Cthulhu scenario inspired by Matt’s hair-raising near-death experience early this year.

Covers of Tomes of yore
Episode 246: Dealing With Downtime

We’re back and we’re taking things easy. Sometimes, after a particularly hectic battle against the forces of eldritch darkness, a bit of downtime is just what the doctor ordered. Literally. What could be better than kicking back, washing off the ichor, and checking yourself into nice, peaceful facility until you stop screaming? The only thing that might improve it would be fitting in a bit of shotgun practice between therapy sessions.

Main Topic: Dealing With Downtime

This episode, we discuss how we handle downtime in Call of Cthulhu and other RPGs. In any campaign, there will always be those quiet moments between the main adventures when time moves differently. Maybe the heroes are on a long voyage or convalescing to restore their bodies and minds. They might simply be getting on with everyday life while awaiting the next call to action.

So how do you handle this downtime? Is it purely a mechanical phase for recovery and advancement? Does it present some unique roleplaying opportunities? Or is it best simply handwaved away?

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

Scott on So, I’m Writing a Novel

Scott recently joined Oliver Brackenbury on his most recent podcast venture, So I’m Writing a Novel. In particular, Oliver is writing a sword and sorcery novel, and has been discussing the genre with a wide range of people. The discussion with Scott, released as episode 54, focuses on the shared roots of sword and sorcery and the Cthulhu Mythos.

As we mention, Oliver has also started a related magazine, called New Edge Sword & Sorcery. There is a preview issue available now for subscribers to the magazine’s mailing list.

Regular listeners might remember that Scott appeared on Oliver’s other podcast, Unknown Worlds of the Merril Collection, earlier in the year to discuss how the Cthulhu Mythos has developed beyond Lovecraft.

A Weekend With Good Friends

Player sign-ups for A Weekend With Good Friends are currently open, although you’ll need to act fast. This is the online RPG convention organised by our lovely listeners and hosted on our Discord server. We have a web page with important details and links, which we will update as things progress.

The important dates are:

  • 21st October–27th October – Player signups
  • 28th October – Allocations are announced
  • 4th–6th November – A Weekend With Good Friends
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The Blasphemous Tome issue 10

Issue 10 of The Blasphemous Tome is taking shape! There is just time for submissions before the cut-off at the end of October 2022. If you have any articles of up to 500 words or artwork you think would fit, we would love to see them. Just drop us a line at submissions@blasphemoustomes.com.

In the news segment, Matt talks a little more about the state of delirium that inspired his scenario for this latest issue.

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October Horror Movie Challenge

Scott is coming to the end of his 2022 October Horror Movie Challenge. He is currently posting a horror film review every day on this very blog. These are all films he has not seen before and, largely, ones available on streaming services. If you want to check out his selections, or even play along at home, you can find full details here.

October Horror Movie Challenge 2022

Improvised Games on ASN

Over the past couple of years, Scott has run special Halloween games of Call of Cthulhu for our good friends at Ain’t Slayed Nobody — namely, “The Green Pumpkin” and “Totally Not a Cult Gathering”. These games were entirely improvised, based on suggestions from listeners. This year, we gathered again for a new improv Halloween game, titled “Dead Man’s Tooth”. Part 1 should turn up on the ASN feed in the not-too-distant future.

Paul’s at Grogmeet

Paul is heading up to Manchester again for this year’s Grogmeet. This is the convention organised by our good friends at The Grognard Files podcast. You may remember Dirk the Dice joining us for a couple of episodes (Gangsters and Gozu) earlier this year, when Matt was in hospital.

Grogmeet takes place at Fanboy Three, Manchester, between Friday 11th and Sunday 13th November. You can find more details on the Grognard Files website.

We’re back and we’re getting all eclectic. It’s simply inevitable that if you ask the three of us to pick films, our selections will not mesh together at all. Just think of this episode as an unlucky dip, or maybe a plum pudding where the sixpence has been replaced with a ninety-year-old man’s bedpan.

Main Topic: Media Catch-up – Films

This episode, we’re returning to our media catch-up format to talk about films we’ve watched recently. Two of us decided to head back to the ’90s, although only one of these selections could be called a classic. Paul opted for a more recent release, and do be warned that his segment is especially spoiler-heavy.

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

October Horror Movie Challenge

Scott is now deep into his 2022 October Horror Movie Challenge. He is currently posting a horror film review every day on this very blog. These are all films he has not seen before and, largely, ones available on streaming services. If you want to check out his selection, or even play along at home, you can find full details here.

As we recorded this episode in September, it was a little difficult to discuss details. Instead, Scott mentioned two films he’s reviewing for the upcoming issue 10 of The Blasphemous Tome. These films are Moloch (2022) and VFW (2019). Our brief discussion of them also makes mention of Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), The Warriors (1979) and Class of 1984 (1982).

October Horror Movie Challenge 2022

The Blasphemous Tome issue 10

No sooner has issue 9 of The Blasphemous Tome gone out the door than we’ve started work on issue 10! If you have any articles of up to 500 words or artwork you think would fit, we would love to see them. Just drop us a line at submissions@blasphemoustomes.com.

Along with Matt’s new scenario, this episode will include our regular year-end features. Expect discussions of our favourite episodes of the year, notable games we have played, and Matt’s usual articles about cocktails and limited-edition RPG books.

Covers of Tomes of yore

Miskatonic Repository Convention

The Miskatonic Repository Convention takes place this weekend, from 14-16 October 2022. Paul & Mike Mason will be appearing on a panel about “Getting Creative With Cthulhu” on Friday evening at 9 PM BST. Scott will be running Philip G. Orth’s scenario “Sound of the Sea” on Sunday at 2 PM BST.

Paul’s Summer Conventions

Paul managed to attend a number of conventions this summer. He briefly discusses his time at Continuum, Owlbear & Wizard’s Staff and Necronomicon Providence. The latter proved especially exciting, with a livestream of the new Pirate Borg RPG and a game with our good friends at Into the Darkness.

Concrete Cow 22.5

The next Concrete Cow convention is imminent. This is the semi-annual convention organised by the MK-RPG club. It takes place at the Old Bath House in Wolverton, in the northern reaches of Milton Keynes, on Saturday the 15th of October. Full details can be found on the convention website.

A Weekend With Good Friends

GM sign-ups for A Weekend With Good Friends are currently open. This is the online RPG convention organised by our lovely listeners and hosted on our Discord server. We have a web page with important details and links, which we will update as things progress.

The important dates are:

  • 30th September-13th October 2022 – GM signups
  • 21st October–27th October – Player signups
  • 28th October – Lottery results are announced
  • 4th–6th November – A Weekend With Good Friends
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