We’re back and we’re preparing for Ascension. All right, we’re not entirely sure what Ascension involves, but it certainly sounds exciting. Our glorious leader, the beacon of effulgent wisdom that he is, assures us that the flame of enlightenment awaits us all. We merely have to follow his instructions precisely and question nothing. We have faith that this can only lead to wonderful things. Um. Yes. Wonderful things. Now, where’s that smell of smoke coming from?

Main Topic: Cults part 1

This is the first of a multi-episode look at cults in the real world and how (and even if) they relate to what we see in Call of Cthulhu. Over the course of this series, we will discuss what kind of person forms a cult, how cults recruit, how they indoctrinate their members and what kinds of things they might believe.

This episode is largely taken up with trying to pin down what a cult is. Trying to do so proved contentious, especially as “cult” is such a loaded term. No organisation in the modern day would willingly call itself a cult, and some fight hard against the label. But why is it such a pejorative term? And are people right to be afraid of organisations they consider cults?

Sometimes, absolutely, yes.

Once again, the lockdown means we recorded this episode remotely. We hope that we’re getting the hang of making this sound all right. It’s far from the biggest problem current circumstances have presented, but it’s still a challenge.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 5.5

We are currently putting together issue 5.5 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is an interim digital edition of the fanzine we publish for our Patreon backers. Issue 5.5 will contain a number of pieces we couldn’t fit into our last print edition, along with all-new articles and artwork. It will also feature a new Call of Cthulhu scenario by Scott, titled “The Murder Shack”. Anyone backing us at the time of release (expected to be early July) will receive a PDF copy.

The Murder Shack claims another victim

More Lockdown Specials

We are still releasing fortnightly lockdown specials, discussing films, books and television you might find inspirational in your gaming lives. If you are backing us on Patreon, check your feed. Otherwise, backing us at any level will grant you instant access to the back catalogue.

Matt on Roll to Save

Matt recently appeared on the latest episode of the Roll to Save podcast, discussing his love of Vampire: the Masquerade. He will also be returning in a later episode to discuss Paranoia. We assume he means the RPG. At least that’s what they tell us.

The Good Friends of Jacks-Con Elias

Our wonderful listeners over on our Discord server are putting together an online gaming convention in our honour! The Good Friends of Jacks-Con Elias will take place over the 10th-12th of July, with game slots running around the clock. Everyone is welcome to come and join in.

You can find out more details on this very website, or, better still, join our Discord server and take an active role. Thank you very much to Orbital Axolotl for coming up with this and bringing it together, and to everyone else who has chipped in with logistical support, ideas and games!

Scott in Trebuchet Magazine

Scott has an article in issue 8 of Trebuchet Magazine, due out in July. The theme of the issue is Contemporary Surrealism. His article, titled “Lovecraft, Artificial Intelligence, and the Limits of Human Imagination”, is a playful piece about the role AI weirdness might play in bringing Lovecraftian madness into the real world.

If you would like to try a digital issue of Trebuchet, simply order one from their website and enter the code CORONA2020 at checkout to get it free of charge. Assuming this impresses you as much as we think it will, you can then pre-order a print copy of issue 8 at a discount — £10 (instead of £14) in the UK and £15 (Instead of £19.50) everywhere else. This is a 180-page, full-colour arts magazine, and promises to be a thing of beauty.

New Kult: Divinity Lost Kickstarter

Matt has a scenario in the upcoming Screams and Whispers anthology for Kult: Divinity Lost. This book, along with many other goodies, is currently being Kickstarted by Helmgast. The campaign finishes on the 2nd of July, so act quickly if you would like to back it!

We’re back and we’re embarking upon a programme of self-improvement. According to this pamphlet we sent off for, we can build ourselves up into mightily thewed warriors by killing all these rats in the basement. OK, that technically only takes us to first level, but from there, the sky is the limit! We’re just a bit worried about that thing in the corner that looks like a football covered in eyes. Maybe if we kill some more rats, we’ll become tough enough to see it off.

Main Topic: Character Development

This episode is our typically idiosyncratic look at the subject of character development in RPGs. We look at different ways in which characters can change through play, from gathering XP by killing monsters to resolving their messy character arcs. Not every character improves over time, however, and we discuss our expectations, as well as how all this relates to fiction and real life.

Sure you’ve made it to 20th level, but it’s taken a while. Have you checked your blood pressure lately? And let’s not even start on your prostate.

Once again, the lockdown means we recorded this episode remotely. We hope that we’re getting the hang of making this sound all right. It’s far from the biggest problem current circumstances have presented, but it’s still a challenge.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

More Lockdown Specials

We are still putting out our fortnightly lockdown specials, discussing films, books and television you might find inspirational in your gaming lives. If you are backing us on Patreon, check your feed. Otherwise, backing us at any level will grant you instant access to the back catalogue.

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 5.5

We are currently putting together issue 5.5 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is an interim digital edition of the fanzine we publish for our Patreon backers. Issue 5.5 will contain a number of pieces we couldn’t fit into our last print edition, along with all-new articles and artwork. It will also feature a new Call of Cthulhu scenario by Scott, titled “The Murder Shack”. Anyone backing us at the time of release (expected to be early July) will receive a PDF copy. If you would like to submit a short article or a piece of artwork, we would love to hear from you!

The Murder Shack claims another victim

Scott on Ain’t Slayed Nobody

Scott recently recorded a guest spot with the Ain’t Slayed Nobody podcast. He ran his Cthulhu Dark scenario, “Fairyland“, set in the Scottish Borders in the late 19th century. The game went very well indeed, plunging into fire, death and mayhem with little prompting. It will be available for download on the 23rd of June.

Metallic Tome Kickstarter

Good friend of the Good Friends Rafael Chandler has launched a new Kickstarter campaign. Metallic Tome is a modern-day sourcebook for OSR games that defies simple description. So, we’ll let Rafael describe it instead!

Everything that metal bands warned us about in the Eighties has come to pass:

Pollution chokes our seas, nuclear war has destroyed our cities, and worst of all, guitars are illegal. The fanatical evangelists who run our planet created an army of robotic drones who police us with cyber-technology. Conformity is the law! Surveillance satellites monitor our every move. With no one to stop them, corporations have run wild, developing grotesque mutations that walk the streets, preying upon unsuspecting humans.

There is only one thing that can save us: METAL.

As radioactive pegasi soar through blood-red skies, adventurers seek glory in the Suburban Wastes and the Grim Northern Forests. Cyborg dragons bellow on top of shopping malls, and the sky is full of laser pentagrams.

The campaign is running until the 6th of July. Slip into your leather trousers, grab your favourite axe and get ready to bang some heads!

Episode 183: The Fly

We’re back and we’re afraid. We’re very afraid.

Main Topic: The Fly

Following on from our episode about body horror, we thought we should discuss an example of the genre. And what better-known body horror film is there than David Cronenberg’s 1986 classic, The Fly? Despite being almost 35 years old, it still has the power to make people squirm and go a little green around the gills. Assuming you have gills, that is. If not, we can just send you through the telepods along with a fish.

Once again, the lockdown means we recorded this episode remotely. We hope that we’re getting the hang of making this sound all right. It’s far from the biggest problem current circumstances have presented, but it’s still a challenge.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

More Lockdown Specials

We are still putting out our fortnightly lockdown specials, discussing films, books and television you might find inspirational in your gaming lives. If you are backing us on Patreon, check your feed. Otherwise, backing us at any level will grant you instant access to the back catalogue.

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 5.5

We are currently putting together issue 5.5 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is an interim digital edition of the fanzine we publish for our Patreon backers. Issue 5.5 will contain a number of pieces we couldn’t fit into our last print edition, along with all-new articles and artwork. It will also feature a new Call of Cthulhu scenario by Scott, titled “The Murder Shack”. Anyone backing us at the time of release (expected to be early July) will receive a PDF copy. If you would like to submit a short article or a piece of artwork, we would love to hear from you!

Covers of Tomes from bygone years

Good Friends on Discord

As we mention in the episode, we have a very active Discord server. If you would like to join us and other listeners for a chat, you would be most welcome!

Episode 182: Disgust and Body Horror

We’re back and we’re here to talk about body horror and… Hang on. Can anyone else smell that? It’s sweet and cloying, and not in a good way. Everything we touch feels moist, which wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t warm too. That mushy slurp whenever we lift our shoes isn’t helping either. Maybe it’s related to those little shapes we can see wriggling down there. On the bright side, if we end up vomiting in here, it’s not going to make things any worse.

Main Topic: Disgust and Body Horror

This episode is our exploration of the linked topics of disgust and body horror. We were originally going to cover disgust in our episode about Making Call of Cthulhu Scary, but ran out of time. And body horror has been on our list for some time. It seemed logical to send the two topics through the telepods, melding them into a twitching, mewling hybrid of an episode.

Once again, Mike Mason, the line editor for Call of Cthulhu, joins the discussion and offers his insights. We explore the role of disgust in horror and how we might go about harnassing it in our games. Then, we move on to discussing what makes body horror so effective. Finally, we wrap up the episode by licking the floor under our fridges. It’s tangy!

Researching this topic can really get under one’s skin

Once again, the current lockdown means we recorded this episode remotely. We hope that we’re getting the hang of making this sound all right. It’s far from the biggest problem current circumstances have presented, but it’s still a challenge.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

Help yourself to some wrigglers

News

The Blasphemous Tome Issue 5.5

We are currently putting together issue 5.5 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is an interim digital edition of the fanzine we publish for our Patreon backers. Issue 5.5 will contain a number of pieces we couldn’t fit into our last print edition, along with all-new articles and artwork. It will also feature a new Call of Cthulhu scenario by Scott, titled “The Murder Shack”. Anyone backing us at the time of release (expected to be early July) will receive a PDF copy. If you would like to submit a short article or a piece of artwork, we would love to hear from you!

Covers of Tomes from bygone years

News From Chaosium

Mike shares details of some exciting Call of Cthulhu publications and actual play recordings from Chaosium.

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.