Episode 216: The Changeling

We’re back and we’re poking around in our dusty old attic. It’s usually the most convenient place to find ghosts. You’d think that with the number of people who have died over the years, ghosts would be a bit easier to locate. Instead, we end up looking into all the dark corners of our homes, hoping to catch a glimpse of something spooky. It’s mostly just cobwebs and lonely spiders, however. Maybe we’ll just give up and put on this DVD of The Changeling instead.

Main Topic: The Changeling

This episode is our discussion of the 1980 Canadian horror film, The Changeling. While horror cinema is hardly short of ghost stories, there’s always room for a well-made one. And there’s good reason why The Changeling haunts so many genre best-of lists. As ever, we pick the film’s bones for gaming inspiration.

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Things we mention in this episode include:

News

Submissions for Issue 8 of The Blasphemous Tome

We have started work on issue 8 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is the semi-annual fanzine we produce for our Patreon backers. While the issue is filling up fast, there is still space if you would like to submit an article of 500 words or under, or any black-and-white artwork. You can contact us at submissions@blasphemoustomes.com.

Covers of Tomes of yore

A Weekend With Good Friends Thanks

Another Weekend With Good Friends has been and gone. This is the online gaming convention organised by our wonderful listeners and hosted on our Discord Server. The weekend was a rousing success, with well over 100 games and 250 participants. Thank you very much to everyone who made this happen!

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Scott on Ain’t Slayed Nobody

The finale of season one of the main “Y’all of Cthulhu” arc of Ain’t Slayed Nobody comes out the same day as this episode. If you listen to it, which you absolutely should, you may hear the mocking tones of one of the Good Friends, voicing an NPC. Recording this was suitably evil fun!

We’re back and we’re ransacking forbidden ruins, crumbling temples, and the shelves of this abandoned video store in search of a sword and sorcery film worth watching. Our quest has has been a perilous one. So often, what appears to be a gem reveals a heart as rotten as any sorcerer’s. The 1980s were truly a dark age. Maybe we’ll have more luck with these ancient scrolls inscribed with RPGs of high adventure…

Main Topic: Sword and Sorcery in Films and Gaming

This episode is the conclusion our exploration of sword and sorcery. In our first instalment, we looked into the origins of the genre in the pulps. This time, we’re delving into films and games, seeing how they compare to their source material. While the 1980s were a boom time for sword and sorcery films, were any of them actually any good? We pick apart a few of the more notable films of the time, offering our usual range of conflicting opinions.

In the second half of the episode, we do much the same with games. There have been any number of sword and sorcery RPGs published over the past 50 years, but which ones are worth looking into? And how do different games approach the genre, focusing more on swords, sorcery, or that atmosphere of sensual dreaminess that pervades some of the stranger tales?

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Things we mention in this episode include:

News

Scott in Trebuchet Magazine

Issue 10 of Trebuchet Magazine (Materials II) includes an article from our very own Scott Dorward. It explores the sometimes uneasy relationship between canon and creative freedom in long-running genre franchises. Does this offer a framework for writers to build upon or a straightjacket that constrains them?

A Weekend With Good Friends Begins!

A Weekend With Good Friends starts on the 20th of August! While signups for scheduled games are now closed, there will be pickup games running throughout the weekend. Come and join the fun!

This is the online gaming convention organised by our wonderful listeners and hosted on our Discord Server. Full details can be found on this very website.

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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 our examination of the genre of sword and sorcery. “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?

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Things we mention in this episode include:

News

A Weekend With Good Friends GM sign-ups open

GM sign-ups for the next Weekend With Good Friends are open until the 5th of August 2021. Player sign-ups begin on the 6th of August, and the convention itself starts on the 20th of August.

A Weekend With Good Friends is the online gaming convention organised by our wonderful listeners and hosted on our Discord Server. Full details can be found on this very website.

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Episode 213: Weird Science in Call of Cthulhu

We’re back and we’re playing God. It’s a demanding role but we have hubris to spare! In fact, no one has ever had as much hubris as we do. We shall use our hubris to remake the world in our image! Our hubris will shake the very pillars of the universe! Those fools at the institute told us that hubris would be our undoing, but what do such petty-minded idiots know? We’ll show them! We’ll show them all! But before then, have an episode about weird science in Call of Cthulhu.

Main Topic: Weird Science in Call of Cthulhu

This episode is our exploration of the role played by weird science in Call of Cthulhu. From Crawford Tillinghast and his resonator to Herbert West and his ill-fated experiments in reanimation, Lovecraftian horror is built upon the archetype of the mad scientist. Pulp Cthulhu has expanded this reach, drawing in elements of the weird science hero from the pulp magazines. But how does all this work at the gaming table? What can we steal from other media? And will anyone notice if we transplant our laboratory assistant’s brain into this handy gorilla? Listen to find out the answers to at least two of those questions.

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Things we mention in this episode include:

Colin Clive as the archetypal mad scientist in Frankenstein (1931)
Colin Clive in Frankenstein (1931)
Rogue Moon cover
Petersen's Abominations, filled with weird science goodness

News

A Weekend With Good Friends returns

At the time of posting, we are a month away from the next Weekend With Good Friends, starting on the 20th of August 2021. This is the online gaming convention organised by our wonderful listeners and hosted on our Discord Server. If you would like to offer a game, GM sign-ups begin on the 31st of July. Player sign-ups begin a week later. Full details can be found on this very website.

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Chase rules videos on Arkham Studios

Paul and Mike Mason chased Nathan from Arkham Audio all around the place and recorded it for posterity. The resulting videos now provide examples of play for the Call of Cthulhu chase rules.

Update: Some people have requested links to the various things we discuss in this episode. We’ve added some at the end of this post.

We’re back with something of an impromptu special. Scott recently joined our good friend Joe Trier of How We Roll for a chat about playing RPGs online. This seemed timely, with almost everyone we know going into self-quarantine due to COVID-19.

Our discussion covers tools and techniques, with an emphasis on how to get into online gaming for people who have never done so. While our main focus is on D&D and Call of Cthulhu, we do mention a few other suitable games.

If the format of this episode sounds different, this is because we recorded it for How We Roll. Joe has kindly agreed to let us release it on our feed. We have simply added our usual intro and outro to stop you getting too disorientated!

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Things we mention in this episode include: