We’re back and we’re glowing. While we’re only too happy to ascribe this to good diet and healthy living, all this phosphorous oil we keep splashing on ourselves may also play a part. It really helps you stand out in the dark, although it does make it a bit harder to creep around and do all the other sneaky stuff that goes into a good séance. At this rate, we’re going to need a real spirit guide to help pull this off.

Main Topic: Victorian Spiritualism part 2

This is the conclusion of our two-part look at the origins and evolution of Spiritualism in the gaslight era. In the first part, we examined the origins of Spiritualism. This time, we explore how Spiritualism became so popular in Victorian Britain, as well as some of the key figures of Victorian Spiritualism and the strange techniques they used to fake séances.

These episodes gloss over many of the details of séances themselves. We aim to cover those properly in an upcoming episode.

Things we mention in this episode include:

Phantasmagoria
The Davenport Brothers in their spirit cabinet
Daniel Dunglas Home levitating
Helen Duncan manifesting “ectoplasm”

News

The Blasphemous Tome issue 11

The next issue of The Blasphemous Tome will soon be entering layout, ready to creep its way across the globe in June. This is the fully licenced Call of Cthulhu fanzine we produce for Patreon backers of the podcast. Issue 11 features a gorgeous full-colour cover from John Sumrow and a brand-new Call of Cthulhu scenario from our own Scott Dorward.

Paul at UK Games Expo

Paul will be attending the UK Games Expo in Birmingham between Friday the 2nd and Sunday the 4th of June 2023. While there, he will take part in a panel discussion with members of The Grognard Files, Orlanth Rex’s Gaming Vexes, and the Frankenstein RPG Podcast.

A Weekend With Good Friends

The next Weekend With Good Friends is approaching fast! This is the online RPG convention organised by our lovely listeners and hosted on our Discord server. While the main source of information is our Discord server, we also have a web page with important details and links. We will update this as things progress.

GM signups open a little over a week after this episode goes out. If you would like to offer a game and have it listed in the programme, please check out the AWWGF page between the 2nd and 15th of June. Don’t worry if you miss the cut-off, however — there will be pickup games running throughout the weekend.

The important dates are:

  • Friday 2nd – Thursday 15th June — GM signups
  • Friday 23rd – Thursday 29th June — Player signups
  • Friday 30th June — Lottery results announced
  • Friday 7th – Sunday 9th July — AWWGF
a weekend with good friends logo small

We’re back and we’re rapping. While we’re sure we could come up with some killer rhymes, we’re letting our toes do the talking today. There’s no reason why messages from beyond can’t come with a sick beat, and creaky toes are the body’s other beatbox. Victorian Spiritualism is proving much funkier than we ever suspected.

Main Topic: Victorian Spiritualism part 1

This is the first of our two-part look at the origins and evolution of Spiritualism in the gaslight era. We look at how Spiritualism grew out of Mesmerism, how it became a religion, some of the strange phenomena that mediums produced at the behest of the spirits. This will continue in the next episode, when we examine some of the key figures of the Victorian Spiritualism movement and how many of them were exposed as frauds.

Yes, frauds. It shouldn’t be controversial to talk about how Spiritualism is rooted in lies, but its growth into a religion might make this a touchy subject. As ever, we don’t aim to denigrate people’s deeply held beliefs, but we can’t shy away from the fact that the originators of Spiritualism were admitted hoaxsters who denounced their creation later in life.

These episodes also gloss over the details of séances. We aim to cover those in more detail in a later episode.

Things we mention in this episode include:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and friend
Mesmerism in action
The Fox Sisters

News

The Blasphemous Tome issue 11

The next issue of The Blasphemous Tome will soon be entering layout, ready to creep its way across the globe in June. This is the fully licenced Call of Cthulhu fanzine we produce for Patreon backers of the podcast. Issue 11 features a gorgeous full-colour cover from John Sumrow and a brand-new Call of Cthulhu scenario from our own Scott Dorward.

Blasphemous Tome 5a Reissued

Speaking of The Blasphemous Tome, Patreon backers can now download the PDF of issue 5a. This was previously released as issue 5, back when it was a print-only publication. It features a modern-day Call of Cthulhu scenario by Matt Sanderson, entitled “Number 22”.

People backing us on Patreon at the $3 level or higher before the end of May 2023 will receive a discount voucher for a print-on-demand copy of issue 5a.

Scott and Paul on The Miskatonic Playhouse

Scott recently joined the “Cult and Culpability” Regency Cthulhu arc on the Miskatonic Playhouse podcast for a short run, giving voice to the villainous Lord Cosgrove. Newman has also recorded an interview with Paul which should be going out on the podcast feed soon.

Paul at Chaosium Con

Paul discusses his recent visit to Chaosium Con in Michigan, where he met up with our regular contributor John Sumrow and played a game with You Too Can Cthulhu.

We’re back and we’re pouring ourselves into our rubber suits and orthopaedic shoes. Doing up all these straps can be murder when your fingers are made of protoplasm. We’re going to need a nice, tasty stray dog or two to get our energy back after all this messing around. At least we’ve learnt how to maintain a human countenance atop all the ooze, fat face and all. Extruding a new head can be, well, a headache.

Fat Face

This episode is our discussion of Michael Shea’s Mythos tale, “Fat Face”. Originally published as a chapbook in 1987, this nasty little novelette has since been collected in countless anthologies. It’s probably sitting in one of those Mythos books on your shelf right now, waiting patiently for you.

As well as being a great story in its own right, “Fat Face” is the origin of shoggoth lords, as seen in the Call of Cthulhu RPG. We take a little detour into their presentation in the game and some of the ways they’ve been used.

The protagonist of the story is a sex worker, and while the story isn’t at all prurient, it also doesn’t shy away from some of the more dangerous aspects of Patti’s profession. Be warned that our discussion mentions the story’s depictions of violence against women, threats of sexual violence, drug use, body horror and animal cruelty.

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

Blasphemous Tome 3 reissue

Matt has finished converting issue 3 of The Blasphemous Tome to PDF format. This means that backers can now download it from our Patreon page. Those backing us at the $3 level or higher before the end of the month will also receive a voucher for a print-on-demand version from DriveThruRPG. See Patreon for more details.

The Blasphemous Tome is the fully licenced Call of Cthulhu fanzine we produce for backers of the podcast. As well as all the usual features, issue 3 includes Scott’s Pulp Cthulhu scenario, “A New Age of Wonders!” This weird little adventure follows a notoriously self-aggrandising inventor as he throws a New Year’s Eve party to unveil his latest creation to the world. Of course, nothing good can come of this and deadly peril awaits. If you want to hear how it plays, Scott ran it for our good friends at Pretending to be People last year.

We’re back and we’re skulking around the old ruined abbey. Sure, the place is lousy with ghosts, but they’re not really that important. We’re far more concerned with the weather. If reading Gothic horror has taught us anything, it’s that storms are caused by our own inner turmoil. Or is that the other way around? Maybe we could figure it out if all these bloody ghosts would just shut up. Why won’t the past just stay dead?

Main Topic: Gothic Horror

This episode is our attempt to understand what exactly Gothic horror is. We’ve often mentioned how Lovecraft’s early work was rooted in the Gothic, but we’ve never really explained what that means. Gothic horror is one of those genres that you know when you see it, but actually defining it can be tricky.

Happily, Matt has a degree in English, and part of his studies involved the history of Gothic literature. We imposed upon him to dig out some of his dusty old texts and explain what elements go into Gothic horror and how the genre stands apart from other forms of horror literature.

Things we mention in this episode include:

mill of the stone women poster

News

Illusion Horror Con Seminars

Matt and Scott recently attended the Illusion Horror Con, taking part in seminars discussing horror GMing techniques, how to take inspiration from horror media, and the cosmology of the Kult RPG. All of these are now available for your streaming pleasure.

Paul’s Substack

Paul has started his own substack over at paulfricker.com, talking about the various projects he has on the go.

Rivers of London Launch at Dragonmeet

Paul attended Dragonmeet last month to promote the new Rivers of London RPG. He took part in a seminar on the topic, alongside Lynne Hardy and Ben Aaronovitch. While this was apparently recorded, it has yet to appear on YouTube. We shall update the show notes should this change.

The PDF of Rivers of London is out now, with printed copies due in the spring.

We’re back and we’re catching up with our reading. Until recently, we thought we’d seen the most sanity-blasting fanfic the internet could offer. Between terrible prose, wooden characters, and unacceptable levels of horniness, bad fanfic can eat your brain quicker than a hungry ghoul. But this twelfth volume of The Revelations of Gla’aki is in a league of its own. We’re used to Mary-Sue protagonists taking over the narrative, but this Y’golonac character keeps threatening to take over the reader. It’s irritating, but probably not worth losing our heads over.

Main Topic: Y’golonac and The Revelations of Gla’aki

This episode is our latest exploration of the deities of the Cthulhu Mythos. We have devoted previous episodes to Dagon, Shub-Niggurath, Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathotep, Hastur, Azathoth, Nodens, Ubbo-Sathla and Mordiggian, Ithaqua, and Cthulhu. This time, we’re returning to Ramsey Campbell, following our earlier discussions of his creations, Daoloth and Eihort, and Gla’aki.

Specifically, it’s the turn of everyone’s favourite headless monstrosity — Y’golonac! As disturbing as Y’golonac’s appearance is, his recruitment techniques are far worse. We spend some time discussing how we might use Y’golonac in our games and how we might avoid crossing any personal lines in doing so.

At the same time, this is also a follow-up to last episode’s exploration of Gla’aki, perusing the tome which connects him to Y’golonac — The Revelations of Gla’aki. This unusual book is almost a character in its own right, stretching the definition of a living document.

And do hang around after the credits for a bonus from our good friends at the HP Lovecraft Historical Society.

Y’golonac

Things we mention in this episode include:

Cold Print cover

News

Scott on Blood Moon Rising

Scott recently made a guest appearance on the Vampire: the Masquerade chronicle, Blood Moon Rising, run by our good friend Rina Haenze for The Old Ways Podcast. This is the first of a handful of appearances, with Scott giving voice to William Mallet, a scheming Camarilla elder sent to bring order to San Francisco. Expect bastardry.

William “The Hammer” Mallet

Scott on Pretending to be People

And if that weren’t enough, Scott has also been playing an NPC on Pretending to be People. Our good friends Joe and Zach decided that Scott was the natural choice to play Beck Wilder’s mother, Kim. So he did. Kim’s first appearance is in the season two episode, “Printing Press”.

Pretending to be People