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

Links

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.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

Down Darker Trails

The Appeal of the Old West

The Weird West

Our Gaming Experiences

News

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.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

You are here
Episode 192: Three Views of the Weird West part 1

We’re back and we’re saddling up our shantaks, filling our waterskins with space mead and heading out to where the land is weird. For a long time, we thought that “weird west” just meant Austin, but it turns out to be a whole subgenre. Let’s hope we can explore it before the heat, outlaws and eldritch monstrosities leave us as nothing more than bleached bones amidst the sagebrush.

Main Topic: Three Views of the Weird West part 1

This is the first of two episodes exploring the weird west in gaming. With the release of Down Darker Trails, Cthulhu has followed the pioneers out to a strange new frontier. We thought it would be interesting to map out some of this territory.

In this instalment, we discuss a couple of the weird west games that predate Down Darker Trails. First, Matt guides us through the pulpy mayhem of Deadlands. Then, Scott preaches the word of the King of Life Reborn and the glory of Dogs in the Vineyard. Oddly enough, we also mentioned both these games in our episode about our favourite game mechanics.

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

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

Deadlands

Deadlands: The Weird West cover
Matt at the Tombstone Epitaph
Matt earns his bennies

Dogs in the Vineyard

Dogs in the Vineyard cover
The State of Deseret
The State of Deseret

News

Calls for The Blasphemous Tome 6

We have almost finished writing issue 6 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is the annual printed fanzine we send to all out Patreon backers. While this is shaping up to be a pretty packed issue, we are still accepting submissions until the 18th of October. This could be a short article or story of up to 500 words or a piece of black-and-white artwork. We are licenced by Chaosium and are free to include material written for Call of Cthulhu. Ping us on social media if you would like to send us something.

Anyone backing us by the end of November should receive their copy by the end of the year, as well as one of our chthonic Christmas cards. We will send out a second batch of Tomes in the New Year to anyone who backs us before the end of December.

500 Patreon Backers!

We recently passed a major milestone. Over 500 of you wonderful people are now backing the podcast on Patreon. Thank you so much to you all for such generosity! It is genuinely humbling. Your backing has allowed us to put a lot more time into producing the podcast, which we hope is paying off for everyone. We are profoundly grateful.

Patreon

Matt on Into The Darkness

Matt has been busy recording stuff with our good friends at Into the Darkness. As well as the ongoing Two-Headed Serpent campaign, Matt has recently run his scenarios, “A Saturnine Chalice” and “Pulvus et Umbrus Sumus”. Check out the Into the Darkness website for more details.

Special Episode: Conspiracy Theories and Cults with Bence Szlamka (part 1)

In our recent episodes about cults, we mentioned how social media has blurred the line between cults and conspiracy theories. Phenomena like QAnon display many cult-like attributes but lack formal leadership. We thought it would be interesting to dig into this a little more.

As none of us knows much about modern conspiracy theories, we turned to our good friend Bence Szlamka for help. Those of you on our Discord server will know Bence as TRNSHMN, one of the moderators there. While Bence is clear that he is not a scholar, he has spent a great deal of time studying conspiracy theories. Scott talked to Bence for a couple of hours, delving into the darker corners of QAnon, the anti-vaccination movement, flat-Earthers, and other cult-like conspiracy theories.

While we tried to keep the tone relatively light, some of these conspiracy theories revolve around 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.

This turned into quite a long discussion, so we have split it into two episodes. Join us in a fortnight for the conclusion, when Bence and Scott talk about some even stranger contemporary conspiracy theories.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

QAnon logo