Episode 206: The Willows

We’re back and we’re going on our summer holidays! What could be finer than drifting down the Danube, marvelling at all the willows crowding these sandy little islets? Well, maybe not being consumed or driven mad by the unseen cosmic forces lurking within them. But that’s just the kind of risk you take when you go camping.

Main Topic: The Willows

Following on from our recent discussion of cosmic horror, we thought it might be helpful to look at an example of the genre. Dating back to 1907, Algernon Blackwood’s “The Willows” is one of the earliest examples of cosmic horror. It was also a profound influence on the young HP Lovecraft, who later raved about it in Supernatural Horror in Literature. Unfortunately, as we explore in the episode, this admiration was not reciprocal.

As usual, we dig into the story in detail, looking for inspiration for our Call of Cthulhu games. Also, as usual, we disagree about almost everything.

Once again, the pandemic means we recorded this episode remotely, safely separated by invisible dimensional barriers.

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Algernon Blackwood

News

The Meat Trade on Ain’t Slayed Nobody

Scott has been running World War Cthulhu: London for our good friends at Ain’t Slayed Nobody. His scenario, “The Meat Trade”, delves into the underworld of wartime London, in more ways than one. The first episode will go out on the Ain’t Slayed Nobody Patreon feed towards the end of April.

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 7

Issue 7 of The Blasphemous Tome will be escaping into the wild before the end of June. It includes a brand new Call of Cthulhu scenario, licensed by Chaosium, written by our very own Matt Sanderson. Everyone backing us on Patreon will receive a copy. Please see our Patreon page for more details. If you would like to submit a short (up to 500 words) article or piece of black-and-white artwork, please contact us on social media or email us at submissions@blasphemoustomes.com

Episode 205: Cosmic Horror

We’re back and we’re and we’re contemplating the secrets of the universe. People have warned us that it isn’t good for the human psyche to truly understand its insignificance in the wider cosmos. Luckily, as podcasters, our egos are robust enough to withstand such a spiritual winnowing. Cosmic horror is only genuinely horrific if your place in the universe isn’t secured by the occasional appearance towards the bottom of a niche podcast chart!

Main Topic: Cosmic Horror

This episode is our long-overdue look at cosmic horror. The term “cosmic horror” is often used as a synonym for Lovecraftian horror. Is there more to this relationship, however? For all his passion for the genre, how effective was Lovecraft at writing cosmic horror? How can we bring cosmic dread into our games of Call of Cthulhu? And what the hell is cosmic horror anyway?

Once again, the pandemic means we recorded this episode remotely. Although, on a cosmic scale, we’re practically in the same room.

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News

Patreon Changes

We’ve recently made some changes to our Patreon tiers. These centre on how we deliver The Blasphemous Tome. As of the next Tome, we will send a PDF to $1 backers, a code for a print-on-demand copy to $3 backers, and hand-printed and signed copies to those at $5 and above. Check our Patreon page for more details.

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 7

The reason for these Patreon changes is that we will now be putting out two full Blasphemous Tomes per year. While the .5 summer releases started life as an overflow for material we couldn’t fit in the standard Tome, they’ve proved very popular. As a result, we’re promoting them to full Tomes, which means they will be available in print as well as PDF. Issue 7 is due out in June and will include a brand new Call of Cthulhu scenario, licensed by Chaosium, written by our very own Matt Sanderson. We’ll have more details for you soon!

Episode 199: Top 3 Mythos Media

We’re back and we’re hearing the call of Cthulhu from some unusual places. Most of our consumption of Mythos media comes via the printed word. Sometimes, however, it seeps out from the page and infects other formats. Unless we commit to slapping an elder sign on the cover of every book, we had better learn to embrace this, or at least let its pseudopods embrace us.

Main Topic: Top 3 Mythos Media

This episode presents a discussion of some of our favourite Cthulhu Mythos media, in the form of films, songs, musicals and comics. Anything, really, as long as it’s not a novel, short story or RPG. Obviously, there’s going to be a bit of debate as we never agree on anything. We are joined in the scrum by Mike Mason, creative director for the Call of Cthulhu RPG.

Thank you very much to cuppycup of the wonderful Ain’t Slayed Nobody podcast for his help in salvaging some damaged audio from this recording session!

Once again, the pandemic means we recorded this episode remotely. We’re getting used to this.

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200th Episode Special

We’re about to turn 200. Well, maybe not us as people, but the podcast will hit the milestone of 200 episodes this month. We’re celebrating with a big Q&A session, in which we answer some questions sent in by our lovely listeners. Mike Mason joins us once again, acting as questionmaster.

Also, thinking about it, if you add up the ages of everyone on this episode, the total isn’t far off 200…

Back when we celebrated our first birthday. Didn’t we look young?

Call of Cthulhu 40th Anniversary

As Mike reminds us in the episode, Call of Cthulhu turns 40 this year. Expect some major releases this year to celebrate this milestone! While it’s too early to offer specifics, keep watching the Chaosium social media feeds for announcements.

A Weekend With Good Friends

Following the success of Jacks-Con in July of 2020, our lovely listeners have organised another virtual convention. A Weekend With Good Friends will take place on our Discord server between the 14th and 18th of January 2021. Player sign-ups begin on the 6th of January. Full details can be found here.

We’re back with another special interview episode. This time, however, we’re breaking away from cults and turning back to a topic we discussed in episode 127: that uneasy ground that lies between comedy and horror.

Matthew McLean is the writer, producer and one of the stars of A Scottish Podcast. While the name may not suggest it, A Scottish Podcast is steeped in Lovecraftian horror. It’s also pretty damn funny.

The basic premise is that Lee, a failed disc jockey, has decided to reboot his career by starting a paranormal investigation podcast. He ropes his long-suffering friend Doug into producing it and the two of them travel across Scotland, investigating weird cases they are increasingly forced to take seriously.

What stops A Scottish Podcast from being just another paranormal drama is its cast of wildly eccentric supporting characters. The stories swing wildly between comedy and horror, usually keeping the two elements discrete but sometimes mixing them to great effect (such as in the recent special, “Fish Supper Over Innsmouth”).

Be warned that A Scottish Podcast is even more sweary than the Good Friends and that the humour is very Scottish. As Matthew mentions in the interview, however, this has not proved a barrier to international listeners.

In our discussion, Matthew and I talk about the relationship between comedy and horror, where the humour lies in Lovecraft, and how he goes about writing and creating the podcast. This last part turned into a general discussion about producing audio drama which should prove informative to anyone thinking about doing so.

A Scottish Podcast

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Episode 180: Mythos Deities: Azathoth

We’re back and we’re bubbling and blaspheming at the centre of the universe. Actually, we’re just sitting at home like everyone else. It’s still nice to dream of getting out of the house, however, even if it is to the nightmare court of Azathoth. We’ll take any change of scenery we can get right now. And at least there would be some banging tunes to listen to…

Main Topic: Mythos Deities: Azathoth

This is the latest instalment in our series on the deities of the Cthulhu Mythos. Earlier episodes have covered Dagon, Shub-Niggurath, Yog-Sothoth and Nyarlathotep.

This time, the focus is on the blind idiot god at the centre of it all, Azathoth. We dig into Azathoth’s origins and how he changed throughout Lovecraft’s work. Then we move on to exploring how other writers have used and adapted Azathoth (warning: contains Lumley). Finally, we dig into Azathoth’s role in Call of Cthulhu, discussing how we might use him in our games.

This is the last episode we recorded in person before the COVID-19 pandemic forced us all to self-isolate. The next few episodes (at least) will be recorded using the wonders of the internet. You may notice that they sound a bit different.

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News

Blasphemous Offerings From David Kirkby

Our good friend David Kirkby sent us some wonderfully hideous idols to say thank you for helping him promote his recent charity auction. We are unspeakably grateful to him for this. The idols have now been blooded and we have placed them at the appropriate sites. All is proceeding to plan. If you would like such a blasphemy of your own, please check out David’s website.

Continuum and UK Games Expo

Back in those long-forgotten days before we retreated to our bunkers, gaming conventions were a thing. People would actually gather in person to play RPGs, gossip, and drink inadvisable quantities of beer. How quaint all that seems now.

This episode was recorded just before the world changed, and we discuss a few such conventions we were planning to attend. It is possible that they may still go ahead if quarantine restrictions are eased. They might, however, be rescheduled or even go online. Nothing is certain anymore. We recommend that you check the websites for Continuum and UK Games Expo for updates rather than trusting anything we might say in the episode. Our relationship with reality is tenuous at the best of times.