We’re back and we’re getting the willies. Has anyone ever used that phrase and not received a derisive response? But, as we’ve discussed before, laughter is often a way of protecting ourselves against fear. And what is scarier than a good ghost story?

Maybe a terrifying apparition like this.

Main Topic: Ghosts in Call of Cthulhu part 1

This is the first of two episodes looking at ghosts and how they tie into Call of Cthulhu. Our original plan was to do it all in a single episode, but we talked too much.

As a result, this first part is largely us exploring what we think ghosts might be, as well as discussing what we do and don’t like in a ghost story. If you think the answer is “ghosts”, you might be surprised.

Next episode, we shall dig more into how we’d use ghosts in our games, and whether ghosts even belong in Call of Cthulhu.

Getting rid of ghosts can prove a nuisance, so maybe best leave them there.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

Concrete Cow 20

Concrete Cow 20 will take place on Saturday the 14th of March. This is Milton Keynes’ own one-day RPG convention, held in the Old Bath House in Wolverton. Tickets are £5 on the door. All three of us will be there and we would love to see you!

Concrete Cow logo

Deadlight and Other Dark Turns

The print edition of Dead Light and Other Dark Turns is due out shortly. This classic-era Call of Cthulhu anthology features Alan Bligh’s much-loved “Dead Light”, along with a new scenario, “Saturnine Chalice”, by our very own Matt Sanderson.

Cthulhu Idol Charity Auction

Good friend of the Good Friends, David Kirkby, is auctioning another blasphemous sculpture to raise money for charity. After the success of his earlier Pad’thulhu auction, he’s now selling a unique, hand-painted idol of Cthulhu. The money raised will be split between Cancer Research UK and the firefighting efforts in Australia.

We’re back and we’re playing favourites. Sure, we love you all, but you do understand, right? And we also have favourite films, books and RPGs too, some of which were created within the last 10 years. We know that a lot of other people have taken the end of the decade as an opportunity to create similar lists, but we”re different! For a start, we’re doing it over a month later than everyone else.

Main Topic: The Best of the 2010s

In many respects, the 2010s were a terrible decade. We’ve seen political upheavals that will affect the world for generations, an ecological crisis that will affect it for even longer, and, worst of all, David Bowie died. It’s all been a bit shit, really.

But there has been some good stuff too. The 2010s were a boom time for media in general, and horror in particular. We have been living through a golden age of genre books, films and television. In this episode, we pick our favourites from each of these categories, explaining why we think our choice deserves to be held up as the best.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

Wounds cover

News

Concrete Cow 20

Concrete Cow 20 will take place on Saturday the 14th of March. This is Milton Keynes’ own one-day RPG convention, held in the Old Bath House in Wolverton. Tickets are £5 on the door. All three of us will be there and we would love to see you!

Concrete Cow logo

Masks of Nyarlathotep on How We Roll

Scott has been running the Peru chapter of Masks of Nyarlathotep for the How We Roll podcast, with an all-star cast of guests. Players include Seth Skorkowsky, Keeper Murph from the Miskatonic University Podcast, Veronica from Cthulhu and Friends, and Eoghan and Joe from How We Roll. The first few episodes are already available, with new horrors seeping out every few weeks thereafter.

Episode 174: Midsommar

We’re back and we’re on our Midsommar holiday. Happily, we don’t have anything as horrific as Cliff Richard to contend with. It’s only the usual festivals, drugs and human sacrifice. The locals seem nice enough, although Paul’s comments about their music might be getting to them. Oh well. What’s the worst that could happen?

According to Matt, being made to watch this film.

Main Topic: Midsommar

This episode is our look at the 2019 American/Swedish folk horror film, Midsommar. It is an unusually sun-drenched horror, long in running time and short on action. As you might imagine, this led to some disagreement amongst us as to whether it is the best film of the year or slightly less fun than root canal.

If you don’t like it, just put something else on…

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

On the back: “Having a wonderful time, wish you were here!”

News

Matt at ConTingency

Once again, Matt is heading off to the seaside. There is no finer time to visit the east coast of Great Britain than late January. The North Sea always has a warm welcome waiting for you. Matt, however, will be spending his time indoors, playing games. This is his annual pilgrimage to ConTingency, the extended residential convention that has now moved to Hunstanton in Norfolk. If you are attending the convention, be sure to sign up to his games and set fire to all the NPCs.

Smart Party Dragonmeet Seminar

When Paul visited Dragonmeet late last year, he joined Mike Mason and our good friends from the Smart Party for a seminar. They discussed ideas about how to be a better player, some extending beyond bringing snacks and not falling asleep at the table. You can find a recording of the seminar at the Smart Party’s website.

Rivers of London RPG

The other bit of excitement at Dragonmeet was the announcement of the forthcoming Rivers of London RPG from Chaosium. Based on the Peter Grant police procedural/urban fantasy novels by Ben Aaronovitch, the game will use a version of BRP customised by our very own Paul Fricker. More news as it becomes available.

The Whisperer in Darkness

We also briefly mention the audio adaptation of Lovecraft’s “The Whisperer in Darkness” that the BBC is releasing as a podcast. This follows on from their previous adaptation of “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward”. In both cases, the events are presented as an investigative podcast, complete with hints of connections to the wider Mythos. You can also access these programmes through the BBC Sounds app.

We’re back and we’re having a chinwag with our Holy Guardian Angel. It’s good to catch up with all the divine gossip. Arranging this chat proved a bit of an arseache, however. In these days of mobile communications, who has time to sit around in isolation for six months just to make a call? Old Abramelin did try to warn us.

He even drew us pictures.

Main Topic: A Dark Song

This episode wraps up our recent look at the occult by discussing a recent occult horror film, seeing what angelic inspiration it can offer. A Dark Song is a British/Irish co-production from 2016 that has developed something of a cult following. While it does exaggerate aspects for dramatic effect, it may be the most realistic and sympathetic portrayal of the western magical tradition put on film.

Although few real rituals involve quite so many candles.

The film centres on the Abramelin Operation, a notoriously long and involved magical ritual with a reputation for driving occultists mad. As such, it is terrific inspiration for Call of Cthulhu. We pick the film apart, looking for elements we can borrow for our games.

Although in one of our games, these would be fire vampires manifesting.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

“Please don’t sing… Please don’t sing…”

Other Stuff

Songs

The Abramellin operation calls for daily prayer, offered in praise of the most awesome entity who watches over you. Our prayers take the form of songs, and we offer them to our Patreon backers. We only have one such song for you this time, but we hope that it strikes the right note of trembling awe.

Reviews

We also share a lovely new Apple Podcasts review from listener TheGreatStoneFace. If this inspires you to write a review of your own, whether on Apple Podcasts or anywhere else you might find podcasts, we would be delighted!

Episode 164: Occult Horror

We’re back and we’re trying to keep all this blood from staining our carpets. Worse still, we can’t get the smell out goat out of our best robes. Everything will be ruined at this rate. When we decided to do an episode about occult horror, we didn’t think the real horror was going to be the cleaning bills. The sacrifices we make!

Main Topic: Occult Horror

After spending a couple of episodes discussing how Lovecraft and Call of Cthulhu relate to real occultism, we thought we’d get a little more lurid. This is our look at the genre of occult horror, which is something quite different than occultism. It is the blood-drenched, Satan-worshipping, virgin-sacrificing insanity that you would encounter in more disreputable sources, such as tabloids or Dennis Wheatley novels.

OK, still more believable than the Daily Mail.

We begin by trying to define the genre and mentioning some of its more famous proponents, at least in twentieth-century literature. Our terms established, we then break occult horror down into its main tropes and discuss how we might use these in our games. Call of Cthulhu may not precisely be an occult horror game, but it is suffused with the genre’s sulphurous influence.

Links

Some of the things we mention in this episode include:

News

Concrete Cow

Concrete Cow 19 1/2 is approaching faster than anything made out of concrete should be able to. This is the one-day RPG convention held twice per year in Milton Keynes. Full details can be found on the Concrete Cow website. At least some of us will be there, so please come along and say hi if you’re in the area.

Other Stuff

Songs

Writers of occult horror would have you believe that blood-fuelled, orgiastic rites take place behind innocuous doors in suburbia. Nothing about this episode’s songs would change their minds. Our frenzied celebrations of two new $5 Patreon backers must have summoned a demon or two.