Episode 243: Morality in the Cthulhu Mythos

We’re back and we’re in a moral quandary. It’s fair to say that the gods and monsters of the Mythos are beyond human comprehension. The problem is that we are human (or at least that’s our story) but we still need to find ways to write and talk about morality in the Cthulhu Mythos. Is our only option to talk about the ineffable from a human perspective? Or do we get meta and accept that the Mythos is a human invention and any moral opacity is of our own creation? Ultimately, we’ll probably just argue a lot and go off on tangents. That’s served us well enough for the last nine years.

Main Topic: Morality in the Cthulhu Mythos

We’re continuing last episode’s discussion of morality. This time, we’re looking at the role of morality in the Cthulhu Mythos. Do the entities of the Mythos follow any kind of morality we can comprehend? How do we best use antagonists who exist outside our concepts of good and evil? And do they always have to be antagonists anyway?

Things we mention in this episode include:


Mazes and Monsters 40th Anniversary

Plumeria Pictures are releasing a special 40th anniversary edition of the legendary Mazes and Monsters, starring a shockingly young Tom Hanks. Those of you with long memories (or access to Google) may know this weird piece of RPG history, very loosely and inaccurately inspired by the tragic story of Dallas Egbert. The film has become notorious as part of the Satanic panic of the 1980s, but it doesn’t really fit into that camp. It’s something far stranger and quite unique.

If you need more of a reason to pick up this release, it comes with a special commentary track recorded by Seth Skorkowsky, Veronica from Cthulhu and Friends, Joe & Eoghan from How We Roll, and our very own Scott Dorward. We spend the film’s runtime marvelling at its strangeness, talking a bit about the history that inspired it, and becoming increasingly confused by all the hats.

A Weekend With Good Friends

The next Weekend With Good Friends is approaching 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:

  • 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
a weekend with good friends logo small

We’re back and we’re sitting in judgement. Unfortunately, it turns out that judgement doesn’t make a very good seat. Next time, we’re bringing cushions. The topic of morality in RPGs shouldn’t be a comfortable one, but that doesn’t mean we want to end up with piles.

Main Topic: Morality in RPGs

This episode is our exploration of the role of morality in RPGs. From the weirdness of D&D‘s alignment system to the more challenging approach of games like Dogs in the Vineyard, RPGs have always explored questions of morality. But should games try to enforce moral codes through mechanics? When they do, does it work better to use a carrot or a stick? And what makes the exploration of morality interesting in a game?

The original AD&D alignment chart

Things we mention in this episode include:


Paul at Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff

Paul is heading off to another convention. This time, he’s attending the latest Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff in Leamington Spa, over the weekend of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of September. Do say hi if you spot him there.

Night Bus on Ain’t Slayed Nobody

Scott recently ran his scenario “Night Bus” from issue 8 of The Blasphemous Tome for our good friends at Ain’t Slayed Nobody. All three parts of the recording are now available on the main ASN feed. Find a free seat, if you can, and join us as we journey into terror, via Penge.

Episode 241: Strange NPCs - Louis Wain

We’re back and we’re trying our hands at cat breeding. According to these instructions we received from Louis Wain, the secret is electricity. The cats don’t seem to happy about this, even if it does produce interesting patterns in their fur. At least they are all pointing towards magnetic north now, however. And isn’t that what cats are supposed to do?

Louis Wain and friend

Main Topic: Strange NPCs – Louis Wain

This episode is is the latest in our Strange NPCs of History series, in which we look at notable people who might inspire games of Call of Cthulhu. This time, we’re discussing Louis Wain, the eccentric English artist whose cartoons and paintings of cats caught the world’s imagination in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Despite this fame, however, Wain was mainly remembered for his psychotic illness for many years, with both medical professionals and critics pondering what effect it had on his work. Partly because of this, Wain has remained a cult figure in popular culture in the decades since his death. The last year has seen renewed interest in his work, following the 2021 biopic, The Electrical Life of Louis Wain.

Our special guest for this episode is cuppycup of the Gold-ENnie-Award-winning Ain’t Slayed Nobody podcast. Regular listeners will know that we’re all fans of the Old West arc, “Y’all of Cthulhu”, that has been running for the last couple of years. They have also done a number of side projects with Scott, including a playthrough of his scenario “Catland”, which features Louis Wain as an NPC.

Things we mention in this episode include:

Tommy Catkins by Louis Wain
The series of pictures supposedly depicting the effects of Wain’s psychosis on his art
Forest Edge by Louis Wain
The Fire of the Mind Agitates the Atmosphere – Louis Wain


Paul at Necronomicon

After last year’s cancellation, Necronomicon Providence is returning for 2022. Paul is on his way as this episode goes out and hopes to see some of you there. Unfortunately, neither Matt nor Scott can make it this time. Maybe in 2024!

Special: Rivers of London at Dragonmeet 2021

We’re back with another special episode!

Our own Paul Fricker recently attended the Dragonmeet 2021 convention in London. While there, he took part in a few panels. This recording is of the discussion about the forthcoming Rivers of London RPG, with Paul, Lynne Hardy and Rivers of London author, Ben Aaronovitch.

Call of Cthulhu 40th at Dragonmeet 2021

We’re back with another special live episode!

Our own Paul Fricker recently attended the Dragonmeet 2021 convention in London. While there, he took part in a couple of panels. This first recording is of the Call of Cthulhu 40th anniversary discussion, with Paul, Mike Mason, Lynne Hardy and Lee Carnell. The panel look forward as well as back, talking about the future of the game line.