We’re back and we’re hitting the books. That’s probably not fair, though. Just because they’re full of boxing tales doesn’t mean they can hit back. And two-fisted stories don’t actually seem to have any fists of their own. We’re beginning to suspect that this fiction stuff is all made up.

Main Topic: The Works of Robert E Howard

This episode is the conclusion of our two-part look into the life and works of Robert E Howard. Last time, we offered an overview of Howard’s life. This time, it’s the turn of his work.

As well as being the creator of Conan the Cimmerian, Solomon Kane, Kull of Atlantis, and the Pictish king, Bran Mak Morn, Howard initiated both the sword and sorcery and weird western genres. In his sadly short career, Howard wrote horror, boxing yarns, comedies, historical adventures, and action stories. With the encouragement of his friend H P Lovecraft, he penned tales of the Cthulhu Mythos. And that’s without mentioning his voluminous poetry output. He was as versatile as he was prolific. While we cover the broad strokes of his career, we would need dozens of episodes just to catalogue his work. As a result, this is an incomplete and highly idiosyncratic summary of Howard’s career and legacy.

Our next episode wraps up this series by exploring one of Howard’s most famous stories, “The Tower of the Elephant”.

Robert E Howard

Resources

Our main research sources for this episode are:

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

Lovecraft in Brooklyn

News

Issue 8 of The Blasphemous Tome

We have started work on issue 8 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is the semi-annual fanzine we produce for our Patreon backers. While the issue is filling up fast, there is still space if you would like to submit an article of 500 words or under, or any black-and-white artwork. You can contact us at submissions@blasphemoustomes.com.

This issue will include our usual year-end features, including “The Ludomancers” and “Episodes of Insanity”. We offer a few hints about what to expect in the news segment.

Covers of Tomes of yore

Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff

Paul recently attended the Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff convention in Leamington Spa, where he played Barbarians of Lemuria and ran Call of Cthulhu.

October Horror Movie Challenge 2021

Scott is deep into the October Horror Movie Challenge, watching a horror film every day and posting a full review to this very website. If you would like to take part too, please join the discussion on our Discord server or on Twitter.

OHMC 2021 logo
Episode 218: The Life of Robert E Howard

We’re back and we’re spoiling for a fight. Well, a boxing match at least. There’s this fellow we met down at the ice house who’s promised us a bout or two. We heard he’s some kind of writer, so his fists must be more used to hitting keys than jaws. Uh oh. Look at the size of him! Is it too late to change this to a different kind of competition, maybe something like writing a poem? What? He’s good at that too? Boy, it’s really not our day….

Main Topic: The Life of Robert E Howard

Following our recent discussion of sword and sorcery, this episode is the first of a two-part look into the life and work of Robert E Howard. A close friend of Lovecraft (although the two men never actually met), Howard was a cornerstone of the success of Weird Tales. He not only added to the Cthulhu Mythos but created, arguably, two enduring subgenres of fantastic fiction: sword and sorcery and the weird western. Like Lovecraft, most of his success came posthumously, his books selling millions of copies. His creations have appeared in films, comics, video game and even the odd RPG. But who was Robert E Howard?

We examine the man himself, looking at how his life might have shaped his writing. For someone who died so young and spent most of his short life in one town, Howard lived a fascinating life. The era of Texan history in which he grew up was a turbulent one, dealing with the fallout of recent conflicts and the shock of the oil boom. These unique circumstances, as well as the oddness of the Howard family, were fertile creative ground for the young writer’s imagination. We offer a brief overview of the key events of his life and some thoughts of our own.

As a general content warning, this episode includes some brief discussion of Howard’s suicide.

Our next episode builds upon this discussion, looking at Howard’s writing career and his most famous creation, Conan the Cimmerian.

Robert E Howard

Links

Our main research sources for this episode are:

Other things we mention in this episode include:

News

October Horror Movie Challenge 2021

It is that time of year again. Scott is preparing to embark on the October Horror Movie Challenge, watching a horror film every day and posting a full review to this very website. If you would like to take part too, please join the discussion on our Discord server or on Twitter.

OHMC 2021 logo

Issue 8 of The Blasphemous Tome

We have started work on issue 8 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is the semi-annual fanzine we produce for our Patreon backers. While the issue is filling up fast, there is still space if you would like to submit an article of 500 words or under, or any black-and-white artwork. You can contact us at submissions@blasphemoustomes.com.

This latest issue will feature “Night Bus”, a brand new scenario from our own Scott Dorward. Prepare to enter the horrors of late-night public transport in Greater London. Things are going to get weird!

Covers of Tomes of yore
Episode 217: genre emulation in RPGs

We’re back and we’re looking at our underpinnings. This can be an awkward thing to do when you reach our age. We recommend finding somewhere nice and private first. Alternatively, record it all in a podcast and put it out on the internet.

Main Topic: Genre Emulation in RPGs

This episode is our discussion of the role of genre emulation in RPGs. How do RPGs reflect the source material that inspires them? Should they even attempt to do so? And how do we even attempt to define genre? While we may not provide comprehensive answer to these thorny questions, they do at least act as springboards for some robust discussion.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

Submissions for Issue 8 of The Blasphemous Tome

We have started work on issue 8 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is the semi-annual fanzine we produce for our Patreon backers. While the issue is filling up fast, there is still space if you would like to submit an article of 500 words or under, or any black-and-white artwork. You can contact us at submissions@blasphemoustomes.com.

Covers of Tomes of yore

Paul on Frankenstein’s RPG Podcast

Paul made a recent guest appearance on the Frankenstein’s RPG Podcast. He took a selection of spare parts to the lab and helped stitch them onto the ever-growing monster they’re creating.

Episode 216: The Changeling

We’re back and we’re poking around in our dusty old attic. It’s usually the most convenient place to find ghosts. You’d think that with the number of people who have died over the years, ghosts would be a bit easier to locate. Instead, we end up looking into all the dark corners of our homes, hoping to catch a glimpse of something spooky. It’s mostly just cobwebs and lonely spiders, however. Maybe we’ll just give up and put on this DVD of The Changeling instead.

Main Topic: The Changeling

This episode is our discussion of the 1980 Canadian horror film, The Changeling. While horror cinema is hardly short of ghost stories, there’s always room for a well-made one. And there’s good reason why The Changeling haunts so many genre best-of lists. As ever, we pick the film’s bones for gaming inspiration.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

Submissions for Issue 8 of The Blasphemous Tome

We have started work on issue 8 of The Blasphemous Tome. This is the semi-annual fanzine we produce for our Patreon backers. While the issue is filling up fast, there is still space if you would like to submit an article of 500 words or under, or any black-and-white artwork. You can contact us at submissions@blasphemoustomes.com.

Covers of Tomes of yore

A Weekend With Good Friends Thanks

Another Weekend With Good Friends has been and gone. This is the online gaming convention organised by our wonderful listeners and hosted on our Discord Server. The weekend was a rousing success, with well over 100 games and 250 participants. Thank you very much to everyone who made this happen!

A Weekend With Good Friends logo

Scott on Ain’t Slayed Nobody

The finale of season one of the main “Y’all of Cthulhu” arc of Ain’t Slayed Nobody comes out the same day as this episode. If you listen to it, which you absolutely should, you may hear the mocking tones of one of the Good Friends, voicing an NPC. Recording this was suitably evil fun!

Episode 212: Scenario Structures

We’re back and we’re seeking direction. While human lives are generally chaotic, we can at least bring order to our work. Pinning down good scenario structures can help us pretend that the world makes sense. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to paint the streets with nice tessellating hexagons.

Main Topic: Scenario Structures

This episode is our examination of how we structure RPG scenarios. While scenario structures are mostly important when writing your adventure up to share with other GMs, they can affect every stage of the development process. In this episode, we try to identify different types of structure and go into their pros and cons, challenging some of our own preconceptions along the way.

Links

Things we mention in this episode include:

News

Flotsam and Jetsam on How We Roll

Scott has just finished running “The Star Brothers”, Brian Courtemanche‘s opening chapter to the Flotsam and Jetsam campaign, for How We Roll. The first two episodes are now out, with several more following soon. The players include Joe and Eoghan from How We Roll, Veronica from Welcome to St Paxton, and Seth Skorkowsky, If you would like to run Flotsam and Jetsam yourself, simply join the Cult of Chaos.

Paul on Storytelling Collective

Paul has contributed a number of lessons to the Call of Cthulhu track for the Storytelling Collective‘s Write Your First Adventure course. Sign up to learn all his secrets! The programme encourages you to publish your new creation on the Miskatonic Repository.

Call of Cthulhu Classic – 40th Anniversary Kickstarter

Chaosium have recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for a reprint of the 2nd edition Call of Cthulhu boxed set. This includes all the original booklets, with tidied-up layout and typos corrected. Extras include a newly designed Keeper Screen, ruby-coloured dice, and reprints of the Cthulhu Companion, Fragments of Fear, Shadows of Yog-Sothoth, Trail of Tsathoggua, and The Asylum and Other Tales. Follow the campaign for more goodies as further stretch goals are unlocked.