Episode 283: The Ocean in Call of Cthulhu

We’re back and we’re enjoying a nice seaside holiday. Of course, when most people talk about the seaside, they mean the bit that’s on land. Somehow, we’ve ended up in the wetter part. Maybe that’s more technically landside. Human languages are messy things. Regardless, it’s everything we could have asked for: cold, murky, and filled with terrifying creatures. If Lovecraft taught us anything, however, it’s that this nice section of seabed could be forced to the surface at any moment. We’ll just have to enjoy its benthic charms while we can.

Main Topic: The Ocean in Call of Cthulhu

The ocean and its horrors play a huge role in Lovecraft’s fiction and, by extension, in Call of Cthulhu. With entities such as Cthulhu, Dagon and the Deep Ones, and locations like R’lyeh and Y’ha-nthlei, Lovecraft placed many of his most memorable creations deep below the waves. So how can we make use of the ocean in Call of Cthulhu? What inspiration can we take from nature and folklore? And what memorable scenarios are there that use the ocean as their setting?

Things we mention in this episode include:

The Ocean in Lovecraft

Inspirations from Nature and Folklore

A mermaid’s purse

The Ocean in Call of Cthulhu

News

Paul at Chaosium Con 2024

Paul will be attending Chaosium Con 2024 in Michigan between 18-24 April. Do stop by the Chaosium stand and say hi. There will also be a large contingent from Ain’t Slayed Nobody attending, so please say howdy to them too.

We’re back and we’re wondering what’s in this jar on our desk. The contents are murky, but it looks like it might contain the heart of a small boy. Robert Bloch swears by it, but we’re worried that having it makes us accessories to some grisly crime.

Main Topic: Robert Bloch and the Cthulhu Mythos

Following last episode’s discussion of Psycho, we’re exploring the life and work of its creator, Robert Bloch. While Bloch is best remembered for the way he fused crime fiction and horror into a new genre, he was also a member of the original Lovecraft Circle. We look at Bloch’s unlikely friendship with HP Lovecraft and how it shaped his career, as well as offering a quick overview of Bloch’s contributions to the Cthulhu Mythos.

Things we mention in this episode include:

Bloch and Lovecraft

The Weird Fiction of Robert Bloch

News

Thanks For A Weekend With Good Friends

A Weekend With Good Friends 2024 has wrapped up. This is the online gaming convention organised by our lovely listeners, taking place on the Good Friends Discord server.

We take this opportunity to thank everyone who made the convention happen.

The organisers, Bence, Chris, Martin, and PT, put in a heroic amount of work to make sure everything ran smoothly. David and Miranda organised the panels, covering everything from finding panellists and topics to moderating most of them and handling the streaming. The server moderators, especially Rina, Mike and Nate, dealt with tickets, wrangling players and GMs throughout the weekend. Thank you so much to all of you!

And, of course, thank you to everyone who attended, ran games, and took part in panels. This couldn’t have happened without you.

If you missed any of the excellent panels, you can find them all on YouTube.

A Weekend With Good Friends logo

Matt at Concrete Cow

Matt will be at Concrete Cow 24. This is the one-day gaming convention organised my our good friends at MK-RPG. It will take place at the Old Bath House in Wolverton, on Saturday the 16th of March. Doors open at 9:00 and the first games begin at 10:00.

We’re back and we’re heading beyond Innsmouth. The literal and metaphorical tentacles of the Deep Ones now extend far beyond the town’s limits. We’re finding our fishy friends moistening the pages of books, slithering across the silver screen, and even lurking in the hidden depths of our computers. No matter how disturbing any of these may be, however, Robert Olmstead assures us that the scariest place to spy a Deep One is in the mirror.

Main Topic: The Shadow Over Innsmouth – Sequels and Adaptations

Following our extended discussion of HP Lovecraft’s classic weird tale, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”, we’re taking a quick look at some of the various sequels and adaptations spawned by the story. As we mentioned in the first episode, this is by far Lovecraft’s most influential tale. Our overview is far from exhaustive, given the hundreds of tales that owe their origins to Innsmouth and its residents.

As well as a few favourite stories, we also take in some batrachian films, podcasts and even video games. Even so, we have doubtless missed some of your favourites. Please do let us know on social media which works you think we need to check out.

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

Happy New Year!

Somehow, we’ve made it to 2024. Happy new year, everyone! Here’s to another year of the fun kind of horrors.

Matt on RPG Reanimators

Matt recently appeared on the RPG Reanimators podcast, talking about his Call of Cthulhu scenario, “A Saturnine Chalice”. Listen below, or check it out using your podcast app of choice.

Episode 276

We’re back and we’re picking through the ruins. The US Federal Government may have bombed Innsmouth to smithereens, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still useful gaming inspiration to be found in the wreckage. From pondering what the locals really wanted with Robert Olmstead to discussing how to make Deep Ones more sympathetic, we’re finding plenty of Innsmouth Gold here. Let’s just hope we don’t stumble across that shoggoth Zadok Allen mentioned, however. Being shelled and set on fire has probably done little to improve its temperament.

Main Topic: The Shadow Over Innsmouth part 6

This is the sixth and final part of our multi-episode exploration of HP Lovecraft’s classic weird tale, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”. While we’ve finished our breakdown of the story itself, there were still a few outstanding points we’d flagged for later discussion. The second half of the episode delves into the aspects of the story we’d lift for gaming, as well as some discussion of how others have used Innsmouth and its residents in Call of Cthulhu.

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

Merry Christmas!

There is less than a week to go until Christmas, so season’s greetings! Don’t forget to put up your elder signs to ensure nothing unwanted slips down your chimney on Christmas Eve.

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 11

The first batch of Tomes has gone out to Patreon backers of The Good Friends of Jackson Elias. But that doesn’t mean you’ve missed your chance to get a printed copy!

You have until the end of December 2023 to secure your copy of the latest issue of The Blasphemous Tome. Patreon backers at the $5 level or higher will receive a print copy, signed by our own gnarled hands. This issue features “Blackshade”, a brand new Call of Cthulhu scenario written by Scott Dorward.

The Blasphemous Tome 11

Christmas Story Reading on the Good Friends Discord

As this episode goes out, we are in the midst of our Christmas ghost story reading. Mike Perceval-Maxwell of Mr Spike’s Bedtime Stories has organised a reading of “Told After Supper” by Jerome K Jerome on the Good Friends Discord server. You may have heard our earlier performances of “A Christmas Carol”, “The Canterville Ghost” and “The Viy”.

Please join us if you can for the remaining live readings at 22:30 GMT on the 19th and 20th of December. If you can’t make those, however, don’t worry! We also plan to record each reading and release them as special episodes on the Good Friends podcast feed.

Told After Supper by Jerome K Jerome
Episode 275

We’re back and we’re taking part in some self-reflection. It would just be a bit easier if our reflections didn’t keep changing. Maybe it’s inevitable once you get to a certain age. Your hairline starts receding, your face gets jowly, you develop gill slits on your neck… It’s enough to make you want to throw yourself in the ocean.

Main Topic: The Shadow Over Innsmouth part 5

This is the fifth part of our multi-episode exploration of HP Lovecraft’s classic weird tale, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”. Last time, we followed Robert Olmstead’s increasingly frantic departure from the town of Innsmouth.

This episode, we reach the end of the story. Olmstead now has time to process what he has seen and learnt. Of course, in true Lovecraftian fashion, that just makes things worse. Or does it? Strap yourself in for an extended debate about just what that ending means.

We’ll be back next time to wrap up our analysis of the story and to pick the bones for some gaming meat.

Things we mention in this episode include:

Thank you to our good friends at the HP Lovecraft Historical Society for their kindly allowing us to play out with “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fishmen”. You can find the song and many other upliftingly blasphemous wonders on their festive album, A Very Scary Solstice.

News

Christmas Story Reading on the Good Friends Discord

Once again, Mike Perceval-Maxwell of Mr Spike’s Bedtime Stories is organising a Christmas ghost story reading on the Good Friends Discord server. You may have heard our earlier performances of “A Christmas Carol”, “The Canterville Ghost” and “The Viy”. This year, we are reading “Told After Supper” by Jerome K Jerome.

Please join us if you can for the live readings at 22:30 GMT on the 18th, 19th and 20th of December. If you can’t make those, however, don’t worry! We also plan to record each reading and release them as special episodes on the Good Friends podcast feed.

Told After Supper by Jerome K Jerome

Paul at Grogmeet

Paul attended Grogmeet 2023, where he played Paranoia, Vaesen and Dragonbane, and ran a new Call of Cthulhu scenario called “A Dark Age”. Thanks to Dirk and Blythy of The Grognard Files for organising the convention.

Panels From the Illusion Horror Con 2023

Matt and Scott appeared on a number of panels at the latest Illusion Horror Con. These were all recorded and are now available on YouTube. Check out the links below.

Designing Compelling Villains

Horror Podcasting

Exploring the Subgenres of Horror RPGs

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 11

You have until the end of December 2023 to secure your copy of the latest issue of The Blasphemous Tome. Patreon backers at the $5 level or higher will receive a print copy, signed by our own gnarled hands. This issue features “Blackshade”, a brand new Call of Cthulhu scenario written by Scott Dorward.

The Blasphemous Tome 11