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 looking for strange and interesting people. Sure, that drunken man on the bus who shared the details of his entire family’s military history before announcing that he loved us is memorable, but does he have what it takes to become a great Call of Cthulhu NPC? Well, bad example. He’s totally going in our next game. But our point is that when planning historical games, it can be helpful to research some real people. Or take a bus ride in Milton Keynes. Great NPCs can be found everywhere.

The true home of horror.

Main Topic: Great NPCs of History

This is our attempt to find interesting and overlooked figures from history and explore how they might make great NPCs for our Call of Cthulhu games. We had a great deal of fun preparing and recording this episode, so it may become a regular format. We will at least have to record one more episode anyway, as we ran out of time and couldn’t include everyone we wanted to.

What we lack in quantity, we try to make up for in quality.

Be warned that the latter half of the episode gets weird. One of our subjects was a medical innovator who did things to human bodies that might make you uncomfortable. Then again, isn’t that exactly what you want in a Call of Cthulhu NPC?

Surely the last place you’d expect to encounter any weird medical experiments…

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

And now, drink to forget…

News

Grogmeet and ‘zines

Late last year, Paul attended Grogmeet. This is the gaming convention organised by our good friends at The Grognard Files podcast, taking place at Fanboy3 in Manchester. Paul offers a brief overview of the convention and some titbits about what he got up to there. Dirk the Dice also interviewed Paul for the podcast, and we will link to the recording when it is available.

Dirk sent Paul home with some presents for us all. As well as a copy each of The Pseudo-Nymph, the ‘zine Dirk edited in the 1990s, he also gave us an issue of The Hardcore, which Scott co-edited around the same time. Oh, the memories this brings back!

We’re back and we’re coming to you live from Necronomicon 2019. OK, we’re not actually live. This was recorded a few weeks ago, but it was a live event at the time, so we’re standing by this. Time is an illusion.

As we did in 2017, we met up with our good friends from the Miskatonic University Podcast for a live episode. While Keeper Dan was unable to make it this time, we did finally get to meet Jon Hook. As impressive a puppet as he made before, it was even better to have him there in the flesh.

Left to right: Matt, Scott, Paul, Keeper Chad, Keeper Jon and Keeper Murph

This time, we followed a sort of debate format. Both podcasts had polled our listeners about possible topics and we picked several of our favourites to hash out. As you might be able to tell, not all of us were in the debate club at school!

We have a few more recordings from Necronomicon 2019 coming your way soon. Watch your feeds!

We’re back and we’re punting across the Lake of Hali, taking in the sights. Well, we’re trying to… All these cloud waves spoil the view somewhat. Then again, from what we’ve seen of Carcosa, maybe it’s better that way.

Main Topic: The King in Yellow part 2

This is the continuation of last episode’s discussion of The King in Yellow. Now that we’ve looked at the book, its author and the inspirations behind it, we’re ready to dig in deeper. In particular, we’re picking out the elements that make up the so-called Carcosa Mythos. As we discover, there is very little substance behind these names, which may be part of why they have proved so attractive to gamers. We shall revisit these elements in episode 157, where we explore, in detail, how we might use them in our games.

First, we have to find our dice in all these cloud waves.

In passing, we mention the death mask that formed the basis for Resusci Anne. Scott wrote a short piece about this for the old Unknown Armies website.

The most kissed face in the world, almost entirely post-mortem.

News

Tear Them Apart

Evan Dorkin and Paul Yellovich have started a podcast. Tear Them Apart is all about horror films. It mixes enthusiastic fandom, an artist’s eye and a deep understanding of the mechanics of cinema into an eclectic and funny discussion of the genre. There are only two episodes so far. The first is an introduction, with some background about the hosts’ lifelong love of horror. The second kicks off a short series on giallo, as well as introducing a new segment in which Paul and Evan discuss films they’ve watched recently. Highly recommended!

James and Lloyd Read Indie RPG Blurbs So You Don’t Have To

And speaking of new podcasts… Good friend of the Good Friends James Mullen has teamed up Lloyd Gyan, the unstoppable force of the UK gaming community, to talk about indie RPGs. James and Lloyd Read Indie RPG Blurbs So You Don’t Have To does exactly what the name claims. With over 50 new indie RPGs released every month, it’s hard to know what’s worth your time. Lloyd and James sift through the blurbs, find some worth exploring in more depth, and offer you the benefit of their experience. Informative and fun.

Other Stuff

Songs

Cassilda’s song is enigmatic, hinting at horrors and wonders beyond human comprehension. Our songs, however, are simply incomprehensible. There are two new examples in this episode, offered to thank new Patreon backers. The songs of the Hyades they ain’t…

We’re back and we’re trying to maintain our grasp on reality. This is tenuous at the best of times, and all this conflation with imagination is doing it no favours. In this episode, when we say “reality”, we mean the reality of the game world we’re playing in. Is that even a reasonable term to use when talking about a setting filled with malevolent alien creatures from beyond space and time?

Main Topic: Realism in RPG Settings

You expect me to believe in a world populated by entities from forgotten times, willing to destroy entire nations for their own selfish ends? Pshaw!

This episode is our attempt to understand what makes a game setting feel real. We looked at the role of game mechanics last episode, but they are only one piece of the puzzle. In order for players to buy into a game, they generally have to find the setting plausible. How does this apply to RPGs set in worlds of fantasy, science fiction or weird horror? And what aspects of historical accuracy make or break a game?

News

Google+ Shutdown

In the news segment, we offer another reminder that our Google+ community is going away on the 2nd of April. To be fair, all of G+ is shutting down then, but we’re focusing on the important stuff. You can still find us on Discord, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Patreon and under your bed at night.


PodUK

Scott shares his experiences at PodUK, where he recorded a live episode with How We Roll and Dirk the Dice from The Grognard Files. We released the recording of our playthrough of Leigh Carr’s marvellous scenario “The Necropolis” as a special episode. There were a number of other fine podcasts there, including Orphans, Wooden Overcoats, Victoriocity, Death in Ice Valley and Flintlocks & Fireballs. Why not put some of them in your ears?

And we offer another reminder that we are working on issue 4 1/2 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is the digital sibling to our print-only fanzine, destined to travel across the digital ghoul winds to our Patreon backers this summer.

Other Stuff

Raw Episodes

We are still releasing the raw versions of new episodes on our Patreon RSS feed. Episode 152’s unedited version is especially long as it also includes our first attempt at talking about this topic. The two takes are very different, and while we were happier with the second, the first has some good stuff in it. You can also find our Weird Whisperings on the Patreon RSS feed. These are the occasional recordings we make of some of the weird tales we’ve discussed.

Songs

There are two songs in this episode. Suspending your disbelief won’t save you. These are, as ever, our hideous method of thanking new $5 Patreon backers. We still have a few more of you to thank, but only dare to record two songs per episode. I’m sure you can understand why. If your song has yet to find you, it will soon. Some things are shudderingly inevitable.