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!

In our second Necronomicon 2019 interview, I talk to Call of Cthulhu author, Brian Courtemanche. You may know Brian’s work from Chaosium publications such as Doors to Darkness and The House of R’lyeh.

I was lucky enough to work with Brian on the upcoming Flotsam & Jetsam organised play campaign. His contribution — “The Star Brothers” — is an original take on classic Lovecraftian material, sure to appeal to new and experienced players alike.

As a native New Englander, Brian brings a familiarity with Lovecraft Country to his work that most of us can only dream of. He is also a university librarian by profession, making him a Lovecraft protagonist in the flesh. We talk about how these elements and his love of local history influence his writing.

I first encountered Matthew M Bartlett‘s work at Necronomicon 2017. While I didn’t have the funds to buy any of his books at the time, I added them to my list. When I finally picked up Gateways to Abomination earlier this year, I knew I had to track Bartlett down at the next Necronomicon and ask him what the hell I had just read.

Bartlett’s work is tricky to describe, bridging a gap between traditional Gothic and weird fiction. His world is grubby, filled with strange horrors and mutations of the flesh. Happily, Bartlett offers such explanations as he can for what it is he does and opens up his world of Leeds, MA, a little more.

We also talk about Necronomicon and how his work relates to gaming. This includes Bartlett’s collaborations with Yves Tourigny, a game designer whose work you should definitely check out.

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!

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.