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.

Links

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.

A Weekend With Good Friends logo

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.

Episode 212: Scenario Structures

We’re back and we’re seeking direction. While human lives are generally chaotic, we can at least bring order to our work. Pinning down good scenario structures can help us pretend that the world makes sense. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to paint the streets with nice tessellating hexagons.

Main Topic: Scenario Structures

This episode is our examination of how we structure RPG scenarios. While scenario structures are mostly important when writing your adventure up to share with other GMs, they can affect every stage of the development process. In this episode, we try to identify different types of structure and go into their pros and cons, challenging some of our own preconceptions along the way.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

Flotsam and Jetsam on How We Roll

Scott has just finished running “The Star Brothers”, Brian Courtemanche‘s opening chapter to the Flotsam and Jetsam campaign, for How We Roll. The first two episodes are now out, with several more following soon. The players include Joe and Eoghan from How We Roll, Veronica from Welcome to St Paxton, and Seth Skorkowsky, If you would like to run Flotsam and Jetsam yourself, simply join the Cult of Chaos.

Paul on Storytelling Collective

Paul has contributed a number of lessons to the Call of Cthulhu track for the Storytelling Collective‘s Write Your First Adventure course. Sign up to learn all his secrets! The programme encourages you to publish your new creation on the Miskatonic Repository.

Call of Cthulhu Classic – 40th Anniversary Kickstarter

Chaosium have recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for a reprint of the 2nd edition Call of Cthulhu boxed set. This includes all the original booklets, with tidied-up layout and typos corrected. Extras include a newly designed Keeper Screen, ruby-coloured dice, and reprints of the Cthulhu Companion, Fragments of Fear, Shadows of Yog-Sothoth, Trail of Tsathoggua, and The Asylum and Other Tales. Follow the campaign for more goodies as further stretch goals are unlocked.

Episode 211: Mythos Deities - Ithaqua

We’re back and we’re flying the friendly skies. Well, maybe not that friendly. OK, they’re downright malevolent. Ithaqua may be one of the fastest ways to travel but the in-flight entertainment is chilling. And the less said about the landings, the better. At least we have these nifty little tokens to remember our trip by. If only we had the time to enjoy them before freezing to death…

Main Topic: Mythos Deities – Ithaqua

This episode is the latest in our series on the deities of the Cthulhu Mythos, looking at Ithaqua — the wind-walker. Previous entries include Dagon, Shub-Niggurath, Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathotep, Hastur, Azathoth, Nodens, Mordiggian and Ubbo-Sathla.

In our discussion, we look at Ithaqua’s origins, how he has been developed over the years, and how we might use him ourselves. Additionally, we delve into the conflation of Ithaqua with wendigo legends and how we might untangle them. Thank you very much to everyone who suggested resources to help us understand the actual wendigo legends and how they have often been misused in horror fiction. Especially, we would like to thank Shane Hawk and cornysams on Twitter and Stephen Wall, Al Smith and Giles on our Discord server. Any misinterpretations of the materials they suggested reflect solely on us, not on these fine people or the resources they suggested.

If you’d like to learn more about the background and misrepresentation of wendigo legends, the resources in question are:

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

Blasphemous News!

We have just sent out the first issue of our new email newsletter! If you would like to hear more about upcoming episodes, side projects, and other cool things, sign up now.

Blasphemous News!

Scott on Elder Sign and Grizzly Peaks Radio

Scott has made a couple of guest appearances on other podcasts recently. Glenn McDorman of the Elder Sign podcast talked to him about one of the horror stories that influenced him in his youth — “The Werewolf and the Vampire” by R Chetwynd-Hayes.

Scott also spoke to Andy Goodman of Grizzly Peaks Radio about creating atmosphere in horror games and whether actual play podcasts could be as frightening as audio dramas. This might lead to spooky things!

Recent Special Episodes

We have released some more special episodes. Scott recently interviewed award-winning science fiction and fantasy author Adrian Tchaikovsky. They spoke about cosmic horror as science fiction, creating compelling non-human characters, and how gaming helps teach robust world building.

We have also released the first of a two-part discussion with fan-favourite YouTuber and author Seth Skorkowsky. In this instalment, he and Scott talk about GMing tips, the constraints of genre, and UFO cults. The second part, in which Jon Hook joins us, goes into the Modern Mythos podcast Jon and Seth recently launched. Check your podcast feed for all these episodes.

Special Episode: Seth Skorkowsky on Modern Mythos (part 1)

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 7

Issue 7 of The Blasphemous Tome will be creeping your way before the end of June. It features a brand new Call of Cthulhu scenario, licensed by Chaosium, written by our very own Matt Sanderson. This episode, we discuss the wonderful cover art created by our good friend John Sumrow. Everyone backing us on Patreon by the end of this month will receive a Tome. Please see our Patreon page for more details.

Special Episode: Adrian Tchaikovsky on non-human intelligences

We’re back with another special interview episode. This time, Scott talks to bestselling science fiction and fantasy author Adrian Tchaikovsky. In particular, they discuss how Tchaikovsky portrays a wide range of non-human characters in his work and how we might apply this to gaming.

During the course of the conversation, we go into how Tchaikovsky’s career has moved from fantasy to science fiction, what his work owes to his experience as a GM, and just how gaming has led to him narrating some of his own audiobooks. On the way, Tchaikovsky offers an impassioned defence of arthropods as protagonists, insights into how cosmic horror relates to science fiction, and his opinions about how Lovecraft had the best monsters.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

Books by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Other Links

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.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

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