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.

This week’s episode is the conclusion of our discussion about Lovecraft’s The Haunter of the Dark. All that stuff we promised about looking at it from a gaming perspective — that’s in this episode. Sorry it took us so long to get here. We just don’t know when to shut up.

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Exposure to Shining Trapezohedron made us babble incoherently. Either that or caffeine.

Be warned that this episode contains many, many spoilers for the Call of Cthulhu scenario The Crystal of Chaos from The House of R’lyeh (or Different Worlds 34, if you’re old like me) and some pretty spoiler-free discussion of Unseen Masters. It also contains sinister hints and secrets that the human mind was never meant to contain, and thus the seeds of creeping madness and your ultimate destruction. You know, the usual.

This week we talk about HP Lovecraft’s final story, The Haunter of the Dark. In particular, we look at it with a gamer’s eye (we’ll put it back when we’re done), breaking down various aspects and discussing how they can be used in games. There’s not much in the way of literary analysis — we leave that to the far better qualified HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast.

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Three-lobed burning eye not included

Well, we actually get to most of the gaming discussion next episode — we found so much to say that we’ve split the episode in two, and this part covers The Haunter of the Dark and the two related Robert Bloch stories, The Shambler from the Stars and The Shadow from the Steeple. All three stories are published in Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, or you can find the two Bloch stories in Mysteries of the Worm.

You may notice an improvement in sound quality. This is the first recording with our shiny new Blue Yeti microphone, and it sounds much better to us.