Episode 269: Mythos Deities - Yig & Ghatanothoa

We’re back and we’re petrified. It’s bad enough that you can become mummified by standing near Ghatanothoa, but being imperilled just by looking at his image is simply too much. And then we learn that you could be at risk even from examining the eyes of someone who saw him? Yikes! We’ll stick to Yig, thanks. At least the worst he’s going to do is bite you. Oh, hang on… He might turn you into a snake? It’s beginning to sound like these Mythos deities may not be the friends we’re looking for.

Main Topic: Mythos Deities – Yig & Ghatanothoa

This episode is our latest exploration of the deities of the Cthulhu Mythos. We have devoted previous episodes to DagonShub-NiggurathYog-SothothNyarlathotepHasturAzathothNodensUbbo-Sathla and MordiggianIthaquaCthulhuDaoloth and EihortGla’akiY’golonacTsathoggua, Atlach-Nacha and Abhoth, and Cyäegha and Byatis.

We’re turning back to Lovecraft himself in this episode, but Lovecraft as a collaborator. Well, it’s probably more accurate to call him a ghost writer with these stories, but we’ll be generous to his co-authors. The two deities we’re discussing — Yig and Ghatanothoa — both come from Lovecraft’s revisions. It wasn’t until the stories were collected that Lovecraft was even credited, however. Despite this, at least one of the deities has spawned many scenarios and stories, while the other has to be satisfied with hanging out behind a rest stop glory hole. But more about that next episode…

Things we mention in this episode include:


Paul at Gen Con

Paul gives us a quick summary of his visit to Gen Con 2023, where he ran “Full Fathom Five” with You Too Can Cthulhu. He also mentions that Chaosium had the new Pendragon Starter Set on the stall, alongside Rivers of London.

Matt and Paul at the Innsmouth Literary Festival

Matt and Paul will be attending the Innsmouth Literary Festival at the end of this month, running some games. The festival takes place on Saturday 30th September, between 10am – 5pm, at Kings House Conference Centre in Bedford.

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.

Kill, Baby... Kill! 1

Things we mention in this episode include:

Kill, Baby... Kill! 2
Kill, Baby... Kill! 3


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:

mill of the stone women poster


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 getting on a bit. Turning 250 is a sobering milestone. Worse, we seem to be getting a bit peculiar in our dotage. Or maybe it’s just the world around us that’s getting stranger. Either way, this gives us an excuse to ramble on about weird things. So we have.

Main Topic: Making Call of Cthulhu Weird

Given that this is our 250th episode, we thought we’d tackle a big topic. While Call of Cthulhu is primarily known as a horror RPG, the Mythos is so much more than simple scares. Its mixture of science fiction, fantasy and horror reflects its origins in weird fiction. But what does that actually mean? And, more importantly, how can we make our games weirder?

Things we mention in this episode include:


Season’s Greetings!

December is a time for celebration around the world, and we are well into the Christmas season here in the UK. But that’s not the only thing we’re celebrating. As we’ve mentioned, this is our 250th episode! Well, 250th standard episode. By the time you include all the specials and backer-only releases, it’s more like 300. Blimey!

Scott in Trebuchet Magazine

Scott has written another article for Trebuchet Magazine. This is a short piece about his experiences with aphantasia and how it has shaped his imagination. It appears in issue 12, subtitled “Realities”. As ever, the article (and the whole magazine, of course!) is beautifully laid-out and accompanied by evocative art.

If you fancy picking up a copy, our good friends at Trebuchet have provided a 20% discount for our listeners. Just enter the code “dorwardagainstmine” when checking out.

Getting Creative With Cthulhu

Paul appeared on a panel with Mike Mason and Heinrich Moore at the recent Miskatonic Repository Convention. The topic was “Getting Creative With Cthulhu” and you can find a recording of it below.

The Blasphemous Tome issue 10

This is your last chance to get a signed copy of issue 10 of The Blasphemous Tome. While the PDF of this issue will continue to be available for download from Patreon, this is your only opportunity to get a physical copy signed by all three of the Good Friends.

Anyone backing us at the $5 level before the end of December 2022 will receive a signed, printed copy, delivered into your hands through eldritch means. Or the post. See either our Patreon page or the post about The Blasphemous Tome on this very website for further details.

The Blasphemous Tome is a Call of Cthulhu fanzine licensed by Chaosium, and issue 10 includes a full-length scenario from our very own Matt Sanderson.

The Blasphemous Tome issue 10
Episode 249: Tsathoggua, Atlach-Nacha and Abhoth

We’re back and we’re heading deep beneath the earth. We’ve heard that there’s nothing but good things down there in the endless dark. Admittedly, we’ve mainly heard that from the sinister voices that whisper to us from said darkness, but we’re sure they’re fine. After all, what harm could befall us down there? It’s nit like we might stumble into the web of a monstrous spider or stray into a pool of vile fecundity, right? At least if we bump into Tsathoggua, we can just give him a little tickle under the chin and hope he’s too lazy to eat us. He is such a cutie pie!

Main Topic: Mythos Deities – Tsathoggua, Atlach-Nacha and Abhoth

This episode is our latest exploration of the deities of the Cthulhu Mythos. We have devoted previous episodes to Dagon, Shub-Niggurath, Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathotep, Hastur, Azathoth, Nodens, Ubbo-Sathla and Mordiggian, Ithaqua, Cthulhu, Daoloth and Eihort, Gla’aki and Y’golonac. Once again, we are returning to the creations of Clark Ashton Smith, digging deep into the origins and development of three of his deities: Tsathoggua, Atlach-Nacha and Abhoth.

All three of these gods made their first appearances in Smith’s tale, “The Seven Geases”, which we discussed way back in episode 90. We thought it was long past time we delved into the entities themselves.

Things we mention in this episode include:

Trail of Tsathoggua cover


Concrete Cow 22.5

Matt and Paul recently attended the Concrete Cow RPG convention in Milton Keynes. They spend a little time discussing the game of Vaesen that Matt ran there. And thank you to all the listeners who said hello on the day!

Interview with Juan Diego Escobar Alzate

A little while ago, Scott interviewed Juan Diego Escobar Alzate, the writer and director behind the Colombian folk horror film, Luz: The Flower of Evil. This took place on the Good Friends Discord server, and included topics such as the influence of Alejandro Jodorowsky, how an ayahuasca trip reshaped the script at the last minute, and which other Latin American horror filmmakers we should be looking out for.

You can find Scott’s full review of Luz on this very site, as part of his 2022 October Horror Movie Challenge.

luz the flower of evil poster

My Little Sister Wants You to Suffer

Paul has recently released his Call of Cthulhu scenario “My Little Sister Wants You to Suffer” on the Miskatonic Repository. The cover and internal artwork are by our good friend John Sumrow. Anyone backing us on Patreon before the end of December 2022 will receive a voucher for 30% off their purchase.

Christmas ghost story on the Good Friends Discord

This Christmas will see another live ghost story reading on the Good Friends Discord server. Once again, this is being organised by our good friend Mike Perceval-Maxwell, the golden voice behind Mr Spike’s Bedtime Stories.

Following the success of “A Christmas Carol” in 2020 and “The Canterville Ghost” in 2021, Mike is directing a full-cast performance of Nikolai Gogol’s weird folkloric tale, “The Viy”. Expect witchcraft, the unquiet dead and, if you’re lucky, a special guest appearance from the king of the gnomes himself!

As well as Mike, the cast includes Dom Allen, John Casey, Sarah Dovey Rina Haenze, Sue Savage, and our own Scott Dorward. The performance will take place over four nights, at 22:30 GMT on the 15th, 16th, 20th and 23rd of December.

Do come along to our Discord server and listen live if you can. If you are unable to do so, however, we plan to record the performances and release them as special episodes on the podcast feed later this month.

the viy

The Blasphemous Tome issue 10

The first consignment of issue 10 of The Blasphemous Tome will be shipping to our Patreon backers within days! There is still just enough time to secure a printed copy, however. Anyone backing us at the $5 level before the end of December 2022 will receive a signed, printed copy. See either our Patreon page or the post about The Blasphemous Tome on this very website.

While the PDF of this issue will be available download from Patreon until the heat death of the universe (give or take), this is your only opportunity to get a printed copy signed by all three of the Good Friends. The Blasphemous Tome is a Call of Cthulhu fanzine licensed by Chaosium and includes a full-length scenario from our own Matt Sanderson.

The Blasphemous Tome issue 10