We’re back with the conclusion of our special interview with Robert Howells about secret societies, building on our recent episodes about cults. The first part of our discussion focused on how secret societies differ from cults and magical orders. This time, Robert offers some items from his research that he thinks may be of particular interest to Call of Cthulhu players.

Robert Howells is an author and researcher into secret societies. He has written books about the Priory of Sion and the Illuminati, and worked on a number of related television programmes.


Things we mention in this episode include:

Episode 194: The Whisperer in Darkness part 1

We’re back and we’re heading up into the hills of Vermont. A folklorist friend told us that the nice creatures that live there might make us some surprising offers. There’s a risk that we could undergo a repellent mental change, but it seems unlikely anyone will notice that. The whole thing sounds like it should be a mind-expanding experience that’s out of this world!

Main Topic: The Whisperer in Darkness part 1

This is the first instalment of a multi-episode delve into Lovecraft’s classic weird tale, “The Whisperer in Darkness”. As well as being a gripping yarn, this is one of the key stories of the Cthulhu Mythos. It not only introduces the mi-go, one of our favourite monsters, but also draws in a number of other writers’ creations.

Once again, the pandemic means we recorded this episode remotely. We have each forgotten what the others look like. These are strange times.


Things we mention in this episode include:


October Horror Movie Challenge

Scott and Paul have been taking part in the October Horror Movie Challenge this year, watching a horror film every day throughout the month. We share a few of our favourites in the episode. You can also find Scott’s reviews on this very website.

The Blasphemous Tome 6

Issue 6 of The Blasphemous Tome is almost ready for layout. This is the print-only fanzine we put out every year for our Patreon backers. It is licensed by Chaosium and contains material for the Call of Cthulhu RPG. In particular, this issue features a new scenario by our own Paul Fricker, called “Operation Varsity, or How to Get Ahead in World War 2”.

Secret Societies Specials

As another follow-on from our cults episodes, Scott has interviewed author and researcher Robert Howells about secret societies and how they differ from cults. You can find part 1 as a special episode in your feed, with the conclusion coming out on the 3rd of November.

We’re back with a special interview episode about secret societies and how they might relate to Call of Cthulhu.

In our recent episodes about cults, we briefly touched on how the representation of cults in Call of Cthulhu sometimes more resembled secret societies or magical orders. We thought it might be interesting to dig into what the differences are between these types of organisations. If nothing else, this may offer some inspiration for how we portray them in our games.

Once again, we have called upon expert help. Robert Howells is an author and researcher into secret societies. He has written books about the Priory of Sion and the Illuminati, and worked on a number of related television programmes.

This is a long and discursive discussion, drifting into many esoteric and occult areas, so we have split it into two episodes. Join us in a fortnight for the conclusion, when Rob and Scott tie all of this further into cults and Call of Cthulhu.

Inside the Priory of Sion: Revelations from the World's most secret society by Robert Howells


Things we mention in this episode include:

Cutting the Stone by Hieronymus Bosch

We’re back and we’re heading down darker trails. We really hope that those are tumbleweeds rolling towards us. That rustling in the sagebrush is making us jumpy too — we’re pretty sure that sagebrush doesn’t usually have that many eyes. For a such a wide-open place, this landscape is getting mighty crowded. Maybe if we read a few passages from this here dime novel Necronomicon we can get through the night without any eldritch varmints making a meal out of us.

Main Topic: Three Views of the Weird West part 2

This is the second of two episodes exploring the weird west. Last time, we looked at a couple of other RPGs and what they might be able to teach us about the setting. Now, we’re focusing on the Down Darker Trails supplement for Call of Cthulhu. From our superficial knowledge of the genre, it seems like all this weird west stuff came out of the pulps and Lovecraftian horror, so it’s good to see it moseying on back to its roots.

We also take a little time to jaw about the general appeal of playing RPGs set in the Old West, as well as how all this weird stuff got mixed into our westerns. Finally, we tie off our discussion by talking about our own experiences of Lovecraftian gaming in the Old West.

Once again, the lockdown means we recorded this episode remotely. We think we’re getting the hang of this.


Things we mention in this episode include:

Down Darker Trails

The Appeal of the Old West

The Weird West

Our Gaming Experiences


Conspiracy Theories Specials

Following on from our recent series about cults, Scott has recorded two special episodes with our good friend Bence Szlamka. These explore the weird fusion of cult and conspiracy theory that has arisen in the age of social media. Both parts are now available in our normal feed.

The Murder Shack and The Green Pumpkin

Scott has also been busy streaming games with our good friends at Ain’t Slayed Nobody. First, he ran “The Murder Shack”, his scenario from issue 5.5 of The Blasphemous Tome. Then, shortly after, he ran an improvised session just based on the proposed title “The Green Pumpkin”. Both streams were recorded and are now available on Twitch.

The Night Bus

And speaking of Scott recording videos, he has also been playing with How We Roll. This time, he ran a new scenario for them called “The Night Bus”, set on, um, a night bus. The recording was made for the Tabletop Gaming Live convention, which went online this year. At the time of posting, the video is not available. We will update these show notes as soon as it is.

The Watchers of Warbleswick

And if all that weren’t enough, Scott has also been recording with our good friend Andy Goodman, as part of his new Grizzly Peaks Radio podcast. This time, Scott was a player in “The Watchers of Warbleswick”, a classic Call of Cthulhu scenario plucked from the pages of White Dwarf magazine, back when it still published that kind of thing.

CORP Online Convention

James Corp is organising an online RPG convention on the 19th and 20th of December. You can find out more information on Warhorn or by following James on Twitter.

Last Calls for The Blasphemous Tome 6

Issue 6 of The Blasphemous Tome is coming soon! There is still time if you would like to submit a short text article (no more than 500 words) or a piece of black-and-white artwork. Please ping us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit or Discord) if you have any ideas. The cut-off date is the 18th of October.

Conspiracy theories and cults special part 2

This is the second part of our discussion with our good friend Bence Szlamka about the murky grey area between cults and conspiracy theories. Those of you on our Discord server will know Bence as TRNSHMN, one of our moderators. While Bence is clear that he is not a scholar, he has spent a great deal of time studying conspiracy theories.

Our last episode largely focused on QAnon, which dominates the modern conspiracy landscape. In this instalment, Scott talks to Bence about some of the weirder aspects of modern conspiracies, including, mole children, flat Earth adherents, and the role of Jesus in network security.

While we try to keep the tone relatively light, some of these conspiracy theories involve unpleasant ideas. QAnon, especially, embraces various beliefs about the abuse, trafficking and sacrifice of children. We avoid going into too much detail, but be warned that we at least touch upon these subjects. In the end, however, this is an RPG podcast, and our focus is to find inspiration for our games.

We will be back next week with a regular episode: the second part of our journey into the weird west.


Things we mention in this episode include:

You are here