We’re back with another of our lockdown specials. Once again, we’re hunched over a book, seeking inspiration for our gaming lives.

These lockdown episodes are a way of thanking our Patreon backers for sticking with us through these difficult times. We are releasing them on the off-weeks between our normal episodes.

If you would like to gain access to these special episodes, simply back us on Patreon at any level. We will continue to release our standard episodes every fortnight as usual.

If you are already a backer, you will find a post in your Patreon feed with a download link. The episode will also appear in our special Patreon RSS feed.

Things we mention in this episode include:

We’re back with another of our lockdown specials. Once again, we’re searching through our shelves for books that have afforded us both distraction from current events and inspiration for our gaming lives.

These lockdown episodes are a way of thanking our Patreon backers for sticking with us through these difficult times. We are releasing them on the off-weeks between our normal episodes.

If you would like to gain access to these special episodes, simply back us on Patreon at any level. We will continue to release our standard episodes every fortnight as usual.

If you are already a backer, you will find a post in your Patreon feed with a download link. The episode will also appear in our special Patreon RSS feed.

Things we mention in this episode include:

Richard Laymon

We’re back and we’re still under lockdown. Like the rest of you, we’re turning to books, films, podcasts and other media to take us beyond these four walls, if only mentally. We thought it might be fun to share some recommendations with you, hence this series of special episodes.

These lockdown episodes are also a way of thanking our Patreon backers for sticking with us in these difficult times. We’re releasing them on the off-weeks between normal episodes. We hope they can provide some distraction from, well, everything.

If you would like to gain access to these special episodes, simply back us on Patreon at any level. We will continue to release our standard episodes every fortnight as usual.

If you are already a backer, you will find a post in your Patreon feed with a download link, and the episode will appear in our special Patreon RSS feed.

In this episode, we discuss a few horror or weird fiction books we’ve read recently. As ever, we also offer our thoughts about how they might inspire games.

Things we mention in this episode include:

Shoggoth in a jar.
Episode 180: Mythos Deities: Azathoth

We’re back and we’re bubbling and blaspheming at the centre of the universe. Actually, we’re just sitting at home like everyone else. It’s still nice to dream of getting out of the house, however, even if it is to the nightmare court of Azathoth. We’ll take any change of scenery we can get right now. And at least there would be some banging tunes to listen to…

Main Topic: Mythos Deities: Azathoth

This is the latest instalment in our series on the deities of the Cthulhu Mythos. Earlier episodes have covered Dagon, Shub-Niggurath, Yog-Sothoth and Nyarlathotep.

This time, the focus is on the blind idiot god at the centre of it all, Azathoth. We dig into Azathoth’s origins and how he changed throughout Lovecraft’s work. Then we move on to exploring how other writers have used and adapted Azathoth (warning: contains Lumley). Finally, we dig into Azathoth’s role in Call of Cthulhu, discussing how we might use him in our games.

This is the last episode we recorded in person before the COVID-19 pandemic forced us all to self-isolate. The next few episodes (at least) will be recorded using the wonders of the internet. You may notice that they sound a bit different.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

Blasphemous Offerings From David Kirkby

Our good friend David Kirkby sent us some wonderfully hideous idols to say thank you for helping him promote his recent charity auction. We are unspeakably grateful to him for this. The idols have now been blooded and we have placed them at the appropriate sites. All is proceeding to plan. If you would like such a blasphemy of your own, please check out David’s website.

Continuum and UK Games Expo

Back in those long-forgotten days before we retreated to our bunkers, gaming conventions were a thing. People would actually gather in person to play RPGs, gossip, and drink inadvisable quantities of beer. How quaint all that seems now.

This episode was recorded just before the world changed, and we discuss a few such conventions we were planning to attend. It is possible that they may still go ahead if quarantine restrictions are eased. They might, however, be rescheduled or even go online. Nothing is certain anymore. We recommend that you check the websites for Continuum and UK Games Expo for updates rather than trusting anything we might say in the episode. Our relationship with reality is tenuous at the best of times.

Episode 178: A Warning to the Curious

We’re back and we’re heading off to the seaside. People might tell you that Suffolk can be bleak at this time of year, but what do they know? There’s plenty to enjoy here. The hotel is pleasant enough, although we’re not sure why they gave us a private sitting room. Our shoes have never looked so shiny thanks to the boots and all his elbow grease. That nice old man at the curiosity shop keeps showing us wonderful things that belonged to dead people. And while the sand is too fine for making sandcastles, it’s nice and soft for digging. Everything here is rather idyllic. If it weren’t for the hideous ghost following us and the sense of impending doom, this would be the best holiday ever. Four stars on TripAdvisor.

Main Topic: A Warning to the Curious

While we’ve wrapped up our discussion of ghosts, we haven’t quite left the spectral world behind yet. Or maybe it refuses to leave us alone. Once these spectres set their sights on you, they can prove vexingly dogged. We’re going to keep away from any Martello towers, just to be safe.

Almost as frightening to us as they were to Napoleon.

This episode explores M R James’ classic English ghost story, “A Warning to the Curious”. England has an enduring love for ghost stories, and James is the towering figure in the field. We spend some time talking about the man himself and how his work has retained its appeal. Then we go digging for treasure in one of his best-known tales, looking for inspiration for our Call of Cthulhu games. We’re sure everything will be fine.

See? The locals are even keeping a lookout for us.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

The man himself

News

Ain’t Slayed Nobody

Paul recommends Ain’t Slayed Nobody, a relatively new Call of Cthulhu actual play podcast focusing on Down Darker Trails. They are up to three episodes now and may branch out into other Cthulhu settings in subsequent shows.

One Cut of the Dead on Tear Them Apart

Our good friends Evan Dorkin and Paul Yellovich at the Tear Them Apart podcast recently released an episode about the marvellous Japanese horror film, One Cut of the Dead. You should seek this out even if you have no interest in found-footage or zombie films (especially if you don’t). It is full of surprises and pure joy. You should also go into it with as foreknowledge as possible of what you are about to see. And then you should listen to the Tear Them Apart episode about it.

Voluminous: The Letters of H P Lovecraft

And we have yet another newish podcast to recommend: Voluminous. Our good friends at the H P Lovecraft Historical Society are discussing Lovecraft’s copious correspondence, with each episode focusing on a single letter. And, as Paul mentions, who could be a better choice to present such a podcast?