This latest episode is the audio portion of last week’s interview with Malcolm Craig of Contested Ground Studios. The only differences are the addition of our theme music, some slight fiddling with sound balance, a few edits and the fact that you can’t see any of us. This latter point may be the most appealing, but can also be achieved by shutting your eyes while watching the video.

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Artist’s impression of the view from behind closed eyes.

Malcolm talks about his influences as a game designer, how being a professional historian influences his gaming, Lovecraft’s views on race and why Call of Cthulhu fails as an RPG. Some of his opinions may prove more controversial than others.

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“What do you mean that post-modernist analyses of history are pseudo-intellectual wank?”

We’ve since had a chat with Malcolm about the possibility of having him back on the podcast to elaborate on some of his opinions about Call of Cthulhu in more of a round table discussion. If this sounds like the kind of thing that would interest you, please let us know! We do check the comments here, but we also have a community for just such things over at Google+.

This week we take a look at what was arguably Lovecraft’s first major story, The Rats in the Walls. As we did with our discussion of The Haunter of the Dark, we try to find ways that it can inform your Call of Cthulhu game, but mostly we get embarrassed about the name of that bloody cat. Unlike our previous discussion, we managed to keep this to a single episode, possibly helped by the fact that we don’t go on about two other stories as well.

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There aren’t actually any rats in The Rats in the Walls, but this picture was too cute not to use

We also maintain our tradition of complaining about the temperature in the shed. Well, Paul and Matt do. Scott has the same contempt for cold as he does for heat. Paul has resorted to wearing a woolly hat when we record, and here’s a photograph to help you understand and share our mirth.

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At least this way we don’t have to edit the chattering of teeth out of the recording

This week’s episode is our interview with Rafael Chandler, RPG designer, video game writer and novelist. We’ve never had a guest on the show before, as there is precious little room in Paul’s shed, but we managed to make it work by using a Google Hangout and streaming it to YouTube. You may notice some difference in the format and audio quality as a result. We have already released this interview as a video (YT: The Good Friends of Jackson Elias interview Rafael Chandler)

on our YouTube channel, and this is simply the audio portion, cunning disguised as a regular episode of the podcast.

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This being a largely Lovecraftian podcast, Rafael talks to us about the influences of Lovecraft on his work, which has shaped it in unexpected ways. His take on Lovecraft’s racism as well as his cosmic horror is especially interesting. Even more frighteningly, he talks about the influence of Catholic children’s comics, which sound more disturbing than anything with tentacles and gaping maws.

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Rafael has just released the new compendium edition of the Books of Pandemonium, retitled Pandemonio, It contains enough blood, bile and blasphemy to electrify the most jaded group of gamers, and has been my roleplaying cattle-prod of choice at conventions for some time.

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We also discuss ViewScream, the first RPG written specifically to make use of the strengths and limitations of video chats. Mostly, though, we just talk a lot, as we seem to do.