We’re back and we’re coming to you live from Necronomicon 2019. OK, we’re not actually live. This was recorded a few weeks ago, but it was a live event at the time, so we’re standing by this. Time is an illusion.

As we did in 2017, we met up with our good friends from the Miskatonic University Podcast for a live episode. While Keeper Dan was unable to make it this time, we did finally get to meet Jon Hook. As impressive a puppet as he made before, it was even better to have him there in the flesh.

Left to right: Matt, Scott, Paul, Keeper Chad, Keeper Jon and Keeper Murph

This time, we followed a sort of debate format. Both podcasts had polled our listeners about possible topics and we picked several of our favourites to hash out. As you might be able to tell, not all of us were in the debate club at school!

We have a few more recordings from Necronomicon 2019 coming your way soon. Watch your feeds!

Episode 164: Occult Horror

We’re back and we’re trying to keep all this blood from staining our carpets. Worse still, we can’t get the smell out goat out of our best robes. Everything will be ruined at this rate. When we decided to do an episode about occult horror, we didn’t think the real horror was going to be the cleaning bills. The sacrifices we make!

Main Topic: Occult Horror

After spending a couple of episodes discussing how Lovecraft and Call of Cthulhu relate to real occultism, we thought we’d get a little more lurid. This is our look at the genre of occult horror, which is something quite different than occultism. It is the blood-drenched, Satan-worshipping, virgin-sacrificing insanity that you would encounter in more disreputable sources, such as tabloids or Dennis Wheatley novels.

OK, still more believable than the Daily Mail.

We begin by trying to define the genre and mentioning some of its more famous proponents, at least in twentieth-century literature. Our terms established, we then break occult horror down into its main tropes and discuss how we might use these in our games. Call of Cthulhu may not precisely be an occult horror game, but it is suffused with the genre’s sulphurous influence.

Links

Some of the things we mention in this episode include:

News

Concrete Cow

Concrete Cow 19 1/2 is approaching faster than anything made out of concrete should be able to. This is the one-day RPG convention held twice per year in Milton Keynes. Full details can be found on the Concrete Cow website. At least some of us will be there, so please come along and say hi if you’re in the area.

Other Stuff

Songs

Writers of occult horror would have you believe that blood-fuelled, orgiastic rites take place behind innocuous doors in suburbia. Nothing about this episode’s songs would change their minds. Our frenzied celebrations of two new $5 Patreon backers must have summoned a demon or two.

We’re back and we’re wondering why all these robed figures around us are chanting the name of Cthulhu? Don’t they know that Lovecraft made him up? What do they expect to get out of this? Can they really call upon his power? And, if so, how can we get in on this sweet racket?

Main Topic: The Occult and Lovecraft

This is the second part of our look into the relationship between Lovecraft’s work and real occult practices. Last episode, we looked into how Lovecraft drew upon his superficial knowledge of the occult to add verisimilitude to his stories. This time, we’re exploring something far weirder: occultists who have incorporated Lovecraft’s work into their own practices.

That’s one weird-looking D20.

Once again, Mike Mason joins us on our journey into mystery. His knowledge as line editor for Call of Cthulhu comes in especially handy when we delve into the gaming aspects of our topic. Which Call of Cthulhu scenarios draw upon occult traditions? What is the difference between the Occult and Cthulhu Mythos skills? How might we use the occult in our own games? And why is Mike chanting and pulling out that obsidian dagger?

Links

Things we discuss in this episode include:

Cthulhu Mythos Occultism

The Occult in Call of Cthulhu

Other Stuff

Songs

We sing to our old friend Amelia Faulkner in this episode, thanking her for joining our legion of Patreon backers. Amelia is a gifted and prolific author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance. You can find more about her work on her website or Amazon page.

Reviews

We also share a lovely new Apple Podcasts review from listener Test Subject 86b1. If this inspires you to write a review of your own, whether on iTunes or anywhere else you might find podcasts, we would be delighted!

We’re back and we’re casting protective circles around our microphones, burning incense that smells like Cthulhu’s armpits and waggling our wands for all they’re worth. No matter how fevered our incantations, however, the songs always seem to break free. Some magic is too foul to be contained.

Main Topic: Lovecraft and the Occult

This is the first of a pair of episodes looking into the relationship between HP Lovecraft and the occult. The focus this time is on how much (or little) Lovecraft drew upon real occult beliefs and practices. In particular, we’ll focus on the Western occult tradition and its manifestations in the 19th and 20th centuries. Next time, we’ll explore how the relationship has been reciprocated. Things are going to get weird.

Joining us in this exploration is Mike Mason. As well as being line editor for Call of Cthulhu, Mike has a keen interest in the occult and offers some personal insights. You don’t think that Call of Cthulhu has won all those ENnie awards without help from the unseen masters, do you?

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

Necronomicon

The Good Friends will be flying out to Providence for Necronomicon 2019 in just two short weeks. We hope to see many of you there. Please say hi if you spot us in the wild. Mike and a number of other folks from Chaosium will also be attending the convention, operating a stall overflowing with wonders.

Scott on Fictoplasm

A little overdue, but we finally mention that Scott was a guest on Ralph Lovegrove’s excellent Fictoplasm podcast. Ralph and Scott discussed what our gaming lives might be like if Robert W Chambers had been the main figure of twentieth-century horror fiction rather than Lovecraft. This makes a perfect companion piece to our own recent discussions about The King in Yellow.

Other Stuff

Songs

Like the darkest rites of demonology, no episode of The Good Friends is complete without a good chant. We offer two such evocations in this episode, summoning all our gratitude and unleashing it upon new Patreon backers.

Review

We also share a lovely new Apple Podcasts review from listener Pad_in_Purgatory. If this inspires you to write a review of your own, whether on iTunes or anywhere else you might find podcasts, we would be delighted!

160: Making Call of Cthulhu scary

We’re back and we’re hiding under the bed. Maybe this dark, twisted shape that’s creeping around the house won’t find us here. The anticipation is making us quake in terror. Not knowing what the hell it is definitely doesn’t help. How did we end up in this state? And, more importantly, how can we make other people feel like this?

Main topic: Making Call of Cthulhu Scary

This episode is our look at what makes a game of Call of Cthulhu scary. We focus on Call of Cthulhu because that’s what we do, but the elements we discuss could apply to any horror game. Fear is a pretty universal thing.

When we say that fear is universal, we mean that there are some main strands of fear that run through us all. The specifics and triggers may be different, but there are many commonalities. Inspired by this article in Psychology Today, we go through some of these basic fears, looking at how they might come into play.

Not every attempt to be scary works.

Additionally, we offer some tips about the techniques we use and some insights into if and how we’ve been scared by games. Is scaring players possible or even desirable? Are there right ways and wrong ways to make people feel uncomfortable at the gaming table? Where does that line lie?

Links

Other things we mention in this episode include:

News

Necronomicon 2019

The Good Friends are gearing up to go to Necronomicon 2019 in Providence next month. We will be pretty busy while we’re there, but we hope to meet as many of you as possible. Please say hi if you spot us in the wild. At least two of us don’t bite. Those are pretty good odds.

The Blasphemous Tome 4.5

We have finished the writing and editing of the special interim edition of The Blasphemous Tome. Matt is poised to lay the issue out as soon as we have the last two pieces of artwork. At present, we expect to get the Tome to backers by the middle of this month (July 2019).

The Blasphemous Tome is the fanzine we produce exclusively for Patreon backers of The Good Friends of Jackson Elias. It is normally a print publication, but this special extra is a PDF. Everyone backing us by the end of July will receive a copy. See our recent post for more details.

Burning Luck Reviews

Good friend of the Good Friends, Max Mahaffa, has started up a review page on Facebook, titled Burning Luck Reviews. Check out his review of the Call of Cthulhu Starter Set, with more to follow.

Other Stuff

Songs

Few fears are more universal than those evoked by our singing. We have such a bout of terror to share with you this episode, offered in praise of a new Patreon backer. Any exhortation not to have nightmares would be pointless. Tremble away!

Merchandise

We keep forgetting to mention that we have some Good Friends merchandise available. If you would like a T-shirt that tells the world that you are a good friend of Jackson Elias or a mug that warns of the danger of Attract Fish, check out our Redbubble store!

Reviews

We share another lovely new review of the podcast this episode. Such kind words sustain us and, more importantly, help others find the podcast. We are profoundly grateful for every review we receive. If you write a review of your own on Apple Podcasts or wherever you download our episodes, we would be delighted to hear about it.