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 poking around this hole in the ground we discovered. Some more experienced adventurers told us to be prepared, so we have a 10-foot pole, 50 foot of rope and all the lamp oil we can carry. We weren’t quite sure what iron rations are, so we hope we can get by with sucking on a handful of nails. With any luck, this means we’re now prepared for any eventuality.

All these mentions of dragons were metaphorical, right?

Main Topic: The Appeal of D&D

Dungeons & Dragons may seem a little off-topic for a horror podcast, but we stand by our decision. As Paul is so fond of reminding us, it’s where all the other games we love ultimately came from. Our discussion mainly takes the form of a highly subjective exploration of what we do and don’t like about D&D, and some thoughts about its longevity and recent renaissance. And a lot of it is just Matt complaining.

Save versus kvetching

Links

Some of the things we mention in this episode include:

News

Merry Christmas!

OK, not exactly news, but still topical. We would like to wish the maximum safe level of festive cheer to all our listeners! And try not to worry about those strange noises coming from your chimney.

This year, everyone is on Santa’s naughty list.

The Blasphemous Tome issue 5

At the time of posting, you have a week left to secure your copy of issue 5 of The Blasphemous Tome. All you need to do is back us on Patreon before the end of the year.

The Tome is the print-only fanzine we produce exclusively for our Patreon backers. This issue features a new scenario for Call of Cthulhu, called “Number 22”, written by very our own Matt Sanderson. You will also find plenty of other juicy articles, stories and artwork, including many contributions from our wonderful listeners!

Other Stuff

Songs

This episode represents a landmark in the history of the Good Friends. As we’ve mentioned before, we are discontinuing the songs we sing to new Patreon backers. The final such song can be heard in this episode. As much fun as they have been to do, it has become progressively harder not to get stale. Also, we really can’t sing. Thank you to everyone we have sung to over the years and we hope that you can forgive us.

We’re back and we’re cracking open the books, trying to ignore the strange wails they issue as we do so. The words probably shouldn’t scurry across the page like that. Maybe we’re lucky and they’re just bookworms. Whatever they are, we wish they would stop whispering such horrible things.

In practice, most bookworms simply ask for directions to Matt’s house.

Main Topic: Mythos Tomes

It’s taken a long time but we’ve finally tackled one of the most important topics in Call of Cthulhu: Mythos tomes. Hell, our website takes its name from the most famous one of all.

Although maybe not quite this edition.

We spend a little time talking about how we might use Mythos tomes in our Call of Cthulhu games, how they work mechanically and what new and interesting tomes we might create. Matt’s shrieks of anguish as we discuss players who burn eldritch texts are worth the price of admission on their own.

Links

Some of the things we mention in this episode include:

And you thought the SAN loss from the Necronomicon was bad…

News

“Number 22” Playtest

Matt briefly discusses his recent playtest of his scenario, “Number 22”, as found in the new issue of The Blasphemous Tome. We offer places in playtests like this to our Patreon backers first of all. If you are a backer, do check your feed or email for announcements such as this one.

Flotsam & Jetsam Organised Play Campaign

The final part of the Flotsam & Jetsam organised play campaign for Call of Cthulhu is due out less than a week after this episode. If you want to give it a try, simply sign up for the Cult of Chaos programme. You can even earn some cool rewards for doing so!

The Blasphemous Tome issue 5

Issue 5 of The Blasphemous Tome is now in the post, but there is still time to secure your copy if you act quickly. All you need to do is back us on Patreon before the end of the year.

The Tome is the print-only fanzine we produce exclusively for our Patreon backers. This issue features a new scenario for Call of Cthulhu, called “Number 22”, written by very our own Matt Sanderson. You will also find plenty of other juicy articles, stories and artwork, including many contributions from our wonderful listeners!

Other Stuff

Songs

As part of this retooling, we are also discontinuing the songs we sing to new Patreon backers. This is probably an act of mercy. While they’ve been fun to do, the joke is wearing thin. Thank you to everyone we’ve sung to and we hope the mental scars fade with time!

You will find a couple of our final abominations in this episode. Be warned.

We’re back and we’re finally free of the city of the Elder Things. Now, we’re racing off to the aëroplane as fast as our little legs will carry us. Everything will be fine once we’re airborne. We’ve learnt our lessons and we shan’t look back. Nope, no way. Not after that whole shoggoth incident. Looking back only leads to trouble. We’re smarter than that now.

Oh, bugger. We looked back.

Main Topic: At the Mountains of Madness part 5

This is the final part of our discussion of Lovecraft’s epic, At the Mountains of Madness. After all the geological, biological and historical explorations of previous chapters, we find ourselves caught up in something almost mystical. The story ends with another infodump, but one born of madness. As ever, we pick this apart in search of gaming inspiration.

We then offer a quick overview of other works inspired by At the Mountains of Madness. Unsurprisingly, Beyond the Mountains of Madness, the classic Call of Cthulhu campaign, plays a big part in our discussion.

It says a lot about our interests that we completely neglected to discuss any video games. There are plenty of fine games out there that draw upon Lovecraft’s tale, but you’ll have to turn to younger and hipper podcasters for details of them.

Links

Some of the things we mention in this episode include:

News

The Blasphemous Tome issue 5

Issue 5 of The Blasphemous Tome has come back from the printer and the first batch will be in the post any day now!

The Tome is the print-only fanzine we produce exclusively for our Patreon backers. This issue features a new scenario for Call of Cthulhu, called “Number 22”, written by very our own Matt Sanderson. You will also find plenty of other juicy articles, stories and artwork, including many contributions from our wonderful listeners! If you would like to secure your copy, simply back us on Patreon by the end of the year.

Dragonmeet 2019

Matt and Paul will be attending Dragonmeet in a few days. This one-day convention takes place at the Novotel in West London on the 30th of November. Paul will also be a guest on a panel hosted by our good friends Baz and Gaz of the Smart Party. Check the programme on the day for details.

Other Stuff

Reviews and Social Media

We share a lovely new review from The Final Sam in the USA. 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!

As of episode 171, we shall be dropping the social media segment of the podcast. This is part of our grander plan to retool a few things to keep the podcast fresh.

Songs

As part of this retooling, we are also discontinuing the songs we sing to new Patreon backers. This is probably an act of mercy. While they’ve been fun to do, the joke is wearing thin. Thank you to everyone we’ve sung to and we hope the mental scars fade with time!

You will find a couple of our final abominations in this episode. Be warned.