We’re back and we’re doubting our humanity. It’s easily enough done. Whether it’s these gill slits on our necks, that pervasive smell of death surrounding us, or just the weird way our shadow shifts and twists, there’s always been something a little off. Normally, that doesn’t cause any problems beyond the usual revulsion. It does make us wonder, however, whether we’re really protagonist material. Is a background role the best a non-human character can hope for in this game, or it is finally our time to shine as investigators?

Main Topic: Non-Human Characters in Call of Cthulhu

There are plenty of creatures in the Cthulhu Mythos that resemble humans, both in appearance and intelligence. While it’s easy to categorise them as monsters, we explore how to present them as fully formed characters. Normally, their role would be as an antagonist, but the Mythos is more ambiguous and nuanced than that. Some of your best friends might be ghouls!

And, of course, Lovecraft’s protagonists often discovered that they weren’t quite as human as they’d believed. Why shouldn’t the same be true in Call of Cthulhu? What are some of the considerations of having non-human characters as investigators in your game?

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

Paul at Gen Con

Paul will be attending Gen Con 2024 as part of the Chaosium presence. Seek him and the rest of the team out in room 134, off the Hoosier Concourse, or at any of the events in which he is participating. These include the scenario writing seminar and workshop, with Mike Mason, and a game with You Too Can Cthulhu. The Good Time Society will also be running some Call of Cthulhu, and our good friends from the HP Lovecraft Historical Society are offering one of their legendary LARPs.

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 12

Issue 12 of The Blasphemous Tome will be shipping very soon. This is the fanzine we produce for Patreon backers of The Good Friends of Jackson Elias. The latest issue contains “A New Dark Age”, a modern-day Call of Cthulhu scenario by our own Paul Fricker, set in a town near you.

Every backer will receive a PDF of issue 12 as soon as it’s available. Anyone backing us at the $5 level or above by the end of July will also get a printed and signed copy.

We’re back and we’re catching up with our reading again. Specifically, in this episode, we seem to be reading in bed. You’d think that such a common pastime wouldn’t merit much discussion, yet somehow we manage to derail our conversation about the actual books with opinions about the best positions in which to read them. It’s like the Kama Sutra, only with more papercuts.

Main Topic: Media Catch-Up – Books

Once again, we’re talking about books we’ve been reading recently, discussing how they’ve inspired us, or maybe just given us nightmares. There’s quite a range this time, and more digressions than usual, but you should still come away with a few solid recommendations.

Things we mention in this episode include:

Tell Me I'm Worthless cover
The Cellar cover

News

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 12

Issue 12 of The Blasphemous Tome will be going to press soon. This is the fanzine we produce for Patreon backers of The Good Friends of Jackson Elias. The latest issue contains “A New Dark Age”, a modern-day Call of Cthulhu scenario by our own Paul Fricker, set in a town near you.

Every backer will receive a PDF of issue 12 as soon as it’s available. Anyone backing us at the $5 level or above by the end of July will also get a printed and signed copy.

The Blasphemous Tome issue 12 cover

We’re back and we’re under the influence. Sure, the alien entity taking up residence in our heads may not technically be a demon, but that feels like an academic distinction right now. It’s little comfort to learn that the thing messing with your thoughts is a giant insect from another planet or a discorporate consciousness from the primordial past. If it walks like a demon and quacks like a demon, we’re happy to call it a badly mangled metaphor. Possession in Call of Cthulhu is a messy business, leading to madness and terror, and not even innocent clichés are safe.

Main Topic: Possession in Call of Cthulhu

Following last episode’s discussion of Late Night With the Devil, we thought we’d look at the role of possession in Call of Cthulhu. While there may not be any literal demons in the Cthulhu Mythos, that doesn’t mean there’s no possession. Between Yithians, shan, deathless sorcerers, and whatever horrors you create for your own games, there are plenty of entities that can take over a human host and drive them to do weird or horrible things.

But how do we handle all this in our games? Can having their investigator possessed be a fun experience for players? Is possession an all-or-nothing deal? And what inspiration can we take from horror media?

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 12

Issue 12 of The Blasphemous Tome will be going out in early August. This is the fanzine we produce for Patreon backers of The Good Friends of Jackson Elias. The latest issue will contain “A New Dark Age”, a brand-new Call of Cthulhu scenario by our own Paul Fricker.

Every backer will receive a PDF of issue 12 as soon as it’s available. Anyone backing us at the $5 level or above by the end of June will also get a printed and signed copy.

Covers of Tomes of yore

Matt on RPG Reanimators and Roll to Save

Matt has recorded guest spots with a couple of podcasts recently. He appeared on the Acquisition Disorder series on RPG Reanimators, talking about Heaven and Earth. And then he took part in a roundtable discussion about Call of Cthulhu wit Roll to Save.

We’re back and we’re dabbling with dark forces. If Late Night With the Devil has taught us anything, it’s that achieving fame and fortune is just a matter of striking the right bargains. Sure, that’s probably not the message the filmmakers intended, but it’s the one we’ve chosen to take. Now all we have to do is look around the woods for that sinister owl man and then hope we can explain podcasting to him.

Main Topic: Late Night With the Devil

Join us as we tune in our trusty old 14-inch TV set and stay up past our bedtime to watch Late Night With the Devil. This is a 2023 Australian horror film by the Cairnes brothers that perfectly captures the weirdness of both 1970s television and the era’s obsession with the occult. It’s also a rare horror film that all three of us enjoyed, albeit with some reservations.

As ever, we pick through the film in detail, looking for possible inspiration for our games. Be warned that we will spoil the hell out of it.

Late Night With the Devil 1

Things we mention in this episode include:

Late Night With the Devil 2
Late Night With the Devil 3

News

Paul on The Arkham Files

Paul was interviewed recently for The Arkham Files, an actual play podcast which occasionally talks to game designers. You can hear him in episode 005 of their Dossier series.

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 12

Issue 12 of The Blasphemous Tome will be going out in early July. This is the fanzine we produce for Patreon backers of The Good Friends of Jackson Elias. The latest issue will contain “A New Dark Age”, a brand-new Call of Cthulhu scenario by our own Paul Fricker.

Every backer will receive a PDF of issue 12 as soon as it’s available. Anyone backing us at the $5 level or above by the end of June will also get a printed and signed copy.

Covers of Tomes of yore
Episode 264: The Hounds of Tindalos

We’re back and we have an angle. Well, it started out as a curve, but then some bits fell off. It’s outrageous! We’re not sure if that was some kind of fall from grace, an earthquake, or just shoddy plastering. Or maybe we’re just being obtuse. Happily, the hounds of Tindalos will be along soon to put us right. Their sense of such things is pretty acute.

Main Topic: The Hounds of Tindalos

Following on from our time travel episodes, we thought we should find an example of how these tropes have been used in the Cthulhu Mythos. Happily, Frank Belknap Long’s seminal story, “The Hounds of Tindalos”, is about as good an example as we could ask for. As well as showing us a very genre-appropriate method for exploring time, it introduces one of the weirdest and scariest antagonists in the Mythos.

We explore the curves and angles of the story, and briefly discuss the life and works of Frank Belknap Long. In addition to his role as a core member of the Lovecraft Circle, Long has the distinction of being the first person after Lovecraft to write a Mythos story. But that was just a small part of a career that spanned over 70 years and multiple genres.

The Hounds of Tindalos by Frank Belknap Long

Things we mention in this episode include:

Frank Belknap Long and HP Lovecraft in 1931 Brooklyn
Long and Lovecraft in 1931

News

Paul in Bayt al Azif

Issue 5 of Bayt al Azif includes an article by Paul in which he discusses his favourite beginner scenarios for Call of Cthulhu.

Paul at Continuum

Paul will be at the Continuum convention in Leicester later this month, running games and propping up the bar.

Matt Interviews

Matt recently spoke to our good friends over at Illusion Horror & Con about his scenario “Judgment”, as part of their Ask the Author series.

He was also interviewed for issue 2 of Vaezine about the role of Gothic horror in Vaesen.

A Weekend With Good Friends

A Weekend With Good Friends starts this coming Friday, assuming you’re reading this shortly after the episode goes out. It runs between the 5th and 7th of July, around the clock.

This is the online RPG convention organised by our lovely listeners and hosted on our Discord server. While the main source of information is said Discord server, we also have a web page with important details and links.

Player signups have closed, but there will be pickup games running throughout the weekend. There are also a number of seminars about Call of Cthulhu and horror gaming. Check out our Discord server for more details.

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