We’re back and we’re still boring. That is to say, we’re drilling down through layers of ancient rock in search of even more ancient secrets. And it’s pretty dull. We’re sure there’s not going to be anything down there that challenges our notions of history and the nature of humanity. Probably just fossils. Yup. Everything’s going to be fine…

Main Topic: At the Mountains of Madness part 2

This is the second part of our expedition through Lovecraft’s short novel, At the Mountains of Madness. Our Antarctic journey is going to be a long one. Now that we’ve actually recorded all the episodes, we can safely reveal that there are going to be five installments in total. This will take us up to the end of November, when the weather in the Northern Hemisphere should start becoming inspirational. Brrrr.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

The Blasphemous Tome issue 5

We have started work on issue 5 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is the print-only fanzine we produce exclusively for our Patreon backers. Once again, this issue will feature a new scenario for Call of Cthulhu, written by our own Matt Sanderson, along with plenty of other juicy articles, stories and artwork. If you have any short pieces of prose (no more than 500 words) or black-and-white art you would to submit, please send it our way!

Concrete Cow 19 1/2

Paul and Matt recently attended the Concrete Cow convention in Milton Keynes and share some of their experiences in this episode. If you missed the convention this time, you can always come along to Concrete Cow 20 on the 14th of March 2020.

Other Stuff

Songs

How the dogs at Lake’s camp howled when they caught the scent of the ancient and not-quite-dead horrors their master had unearthed. In contrast, we howl with pure joy at our two new $5 Patreon backers. We do mention that one of them, Amber Reeves, turns nightmares into exquisite jewellery. Unfortunately, we have since learnt that she has shut down her shop front. If she reopens it, we shall be sure to tell you.

The pendant we mentioned.
And here’s a little snippet of how we recorded it. No news on how the vacuum cleaner is faring now.

Reviews

Once again, we have a lovely new review to share, this time from Dalex D Diddlesticks in Australia. If you feel inspired 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.

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.

We’re back and we’re wondering why all these robed figures around us are chanting the name of Cthulhu? Don’t they know that Lovecraft made him up? What do they expect to get out of this? Can they really call upon his power? And, if so, how can we get in on this sweet racket?

Main Topic: The Occult and Lovecraft

This is the second part of our look into the relationship between Lovecraft’s work and real occult practices. Last episode, we looked into how Lovecraft drew upon his superficial knowledge of the occult to add verisimilitude to his stories. This time, we’re exploring something far weirder: occultists who have incorporated Lovecraft’s work into their own practices.

That’s one weird-looking D20.

Once again, Mike Mason joins us on our journey into mystery. His knowledge as line editor for Call of Cthulhu comes in especially handy when we delve into the gaming aspects of our topic. Which Call of Cthulhu scenarios draw upon occult traditions? What is the difference between the Occult and Cthulhu Mythos skills? How might we use the occult in our own games? And why is Mike chanting and pulling out that obsidian dagger?

Links

Things we discuss in this episode include:

Cthulhu Mythos Occultism

The Occult in Call of Cthulhu

Other Stuff

Songs

We sing to our old friend Amelia Faulkner in this episode, thanking her for joining our legion of Patreon backers. Amelia is a gifted and prolific author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance. You can find more about her work on her website or Amazon page.

Reviews

We also share a lovely new Apple Podcasts review from listener Test Subject 86b1. If this inspires you to write a review of your own, whether on iTunes or anywhere else you might find podcasts, we would be delighted!