MU Podcast 054 - Again, WTF is with Cults?

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Keeper Dan
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MU Podcast 054 - Again, WTF is with Cults?

Post by Keeper Dan » Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:01 am

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In episode 54, the full MU crew meets up once again to revisit the topic of cults and how best to use them in horror gaming. Plus, a new Bestiary segment to chat about the not-so-sparkly Star Vampires from one of Robert Bloch’s early stories, a history lecture about cargo cults in Melanesia, and more!


Campus Crier
  • This portion of the show was recorded on April 20, 2014, while the rest of the episode was recorded on April 6th.
  • Go Pods, Go Go! We are preparing for the MUP IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds for GenCon, equipment and website upgrades. The campaign will run from May 1 through May 31. Perks include original scenarios, new audio content, items from Joe Broers and Cryptocurium, and exclusive games at GenCon!
  • There’s a Kickstarter underway for a Lovecraftian mode of Fate Accelerated -- Arkham Fate Accelerated Companion for Lovecraft and Cthulhu.
  • The Eldritch Cases: Dagon - A point-and-click lovecraftian horror adventure game, stories like Dagon, Shadow over Innsmouth and Herbert West, The Reanimator -- and also draws from the Illuminatus trilogy -- the music and visuals are creepy, the story is sort of a tossed salad of Lovecraft references to be honest, but it shows promise.
  • Lovecraft’s Monsters, a reprint anthology book of stories focused on Cthulhu and Shoggoths and some other classic HPL fiends. Work by Neil Gaiman, Joe R. Lansdale, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Karl Edward Wagner, Elizabeth Bear, and Nick Mamatas. The monsters are illustrated by John Coulhart, who draws lovely atmospheric pieces.

Card Catalog
Summon Cthulhu to Your Tabletop Game With 20,000 Historic Free Maps!

Adam Gauntlett shared the info that the New York Public Library has released more than 20,000 hi-res scanned maps to the Public Domain!

Example -- City of New Manhattan: proposed May 1911, revised May 1930, shows proposed extension of Manhattan into harbor south of the Battery.

Also: Wharves & Piers on North River

Chad also mentions a 1934 plan to pave over the Hudson River -- sometimes great ideas for some reason just never come to pass.


History Lecture
This week, Dr. Gerard pontificates once again for the MU History Lecture Series, this time on the topic of: Cargo Cults


Cryptocurium Spot
“With him he bore the subject of his visit, a grotesque, repulsive, and apparently very ancient stone statuette whose origin he was at a loss to determine.” – H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu
A smaller recreation of the alien statuettes described in H.P. Lovecraft’s classic tale, The Call of Cthulhu. One seized by Inspector Legrasse from the crazed swamp cultists of Louisiana and the other captured by Johansen from the frightful sea-raiders in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Each idol is available in two finishes: Ancient Granite and Celestial Soapstone. Both may be purchased separately or together as a set. Check them out right here.


Bestiary
This week, Star Vampires, Lesser Independent Race.
“The dim outlines of a presence came into view; the blood-filled outlines of the unseen shambler from the stars. It was red and dripping; an immensity of pulsing, moving jelly; a scarlet blob with myriad tentacular trunks that waved and wavered. There were suckers on the tips of the appendages, and these were opening and closing with ghoulish lust. . . . The thing was bloated and obscene; a headless, faceless, eyeless bulk with the ravenous maw and titanic talons of a star-born monster. The human blood on which it had fed revealed the hitherto invisible outlines of the feaster." - Robert Bloch, “The Shambler from the Stars"
(They're outlined in the Malleus Monstorum on Page 88)
In , Mike Mason shows us some new creature art, including the Star Vampire!


Main Topic
This week, a second crack at the topic of Cults. Cults, The Sequel. Cults, 2.0. Cults, The Reckoning. You get the picture.

To kick things off, here's a nice article in the YSDC wiki with a [url=http://www.yog-sothoth.com/wiki/index.php/Cthulhu_Mythos_Cults]list of all of the Mythos cults
referenced in game materials.

This is a nice image of a Twall quilt pattern. It would make a lovely desktop image. Listen to the episode to figure out why the heck this link is included in the show notes. Hint: it has something to do with an avatar of Yog-Sothoth.
Keeper Dan of the Miskatonic University Podcast

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Re: MU Podcast 054 - Again, WTF is with Cults?

Post by fox01313 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:39 pm

Can't recall what podcast or interview I heard this about but with the idea of the cults, the Chapel of Contemplation (from the core book) also shows up in #18 of the Unspeakable Oath as Dan Harms wrote up quite a lot to make that a possible lead to follow in quite a few places making the quaint little scenario in the main book into a campaign path. Been meaning to use it as it's quite interesting but if other keepers are out there looking for leads, it's one you might want to check out.

For me I like the Chapel of Contemplation or any other lesser known cults in Call/Trail of Cthulhu. While the avatar of X (Great Old One or other mythos figure) is an interesting cult, I prefer to use in future games ones that are more on the fringe of the mythos providing a nice gray area for the players to interact with. This way while they are fighting the monsters or evil cultists, they can choose to go alone or help out someone that might be a good or bad force in the future (depending on how they are treated by the players or what they leave behind for others to pick up).
"That's funny, usually the blood gets off on the second floor." -Mr. Burns in The Shinning episode (Treehouse of horror V)

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Re: MU Podcast 054 - Again, WTF is with Cults?

Post by trevlix » Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:26 pm

Still working my way through the episode, but needed to ask...Dr. Gerard, why do you think Fate is crunchy? While I have not played it for Fate Accelerated yet, I've read through the books and didn't think they were that bad.

Also, I think it should be pointed out that the Arkham Fate Accelerated Companion for Lovecraft and Cthulhu is not an official Evil Hat product.
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Re: MU Podcast 054 - Again, WTF is with Cults?

Post by Graham » Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:13 pm

Good episode.

Thought you might enjoy this filk song: Can you hear the pipes? (Lyrics)
"If you do good, you'll live forever, if you do bad, you'll die hearing a single note for I am the one true sound...", Fragment found in a cult hideout.

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Re: MU Podcast 054 - Again, WTF is with Cults?

Post by Dr. Gerard » Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:04 pm

trevlix wrote:Still working my way through the episode, but needed to ask...Dr. Gerard, why do you think Fate is crunchy? While I have not played it for Fate Accelerated yet, I've read through the books and didn't think they were that bad.

Also, I think it should be pointed out that the Arkham Fate Accelerated Companion for Lovecraft and Cthulhu is not an official Evil Hat product.
Not crunchy relative to, say, Pathfinder or GURPS, but enough crunch that I don't yet feel inspired to just jump in and run a pickup game. I love the basic concepts of the system, and would certainly play it in a heartbeat. I particularly like mechanics that deliver results of a particular quality vs. the simple pass/fail model. FATE does seem to be a system that would require some degree of mastery to run right. I'm just glad to see a slimmed down version so I can try it on without too much study. I'm afraid my patience for delving into thick rule books has diminished a bit over the years.

I'm actually signed up to play Fate Accelerated on Sunday morning at 1d4Con in Winchester this weekend, so I should at least be able to talk with some grounding about FA soon!

-- Edit --

I just stumbled on this nice concise explanation of the FATE mechanics on YouTube. I'd love to see these mechanics at work in a Lovecraftian mode of play.

[youtube1]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMM2xCpnAAU[/youtube1]
Keeper of the Cthulhu Dark "Secret Everest Expedition" PbP scenario
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Re: MU Podcast 054 - Again, WTF is with Cults?

Post by fallingtower » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:17 pm

Another masterpiece of podcastery!
We are truly blessed to live at a time where there is enough Cthulhu gaming content to have a weekly podcast that actually has new stuff to discuss every week.

Right now, there is actually too much Cthulhu merch for my pocketbook. No way can I even dream to keep up. I guess that's a good problem to have.

As far as FATE and other systems go, I've tried Trail but still prefer Call. It's neat that there are more and more systems melding onto Cthulhu, I think with me, I've had such a long run with Chaosium and unless something is totally revolutionary, then I will stick with the tried and true.

I've been running a 7e-ish game and am really digging the new rules. I am either going to run Orient Express (original) or possibly Eternal Lies. I have a couple of weeks to decide which.
If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences.

H. P. Lovecraft

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Re: MU Podcast 054 - Again, WTF is with Cults?

Post by trevlix » Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:05 pm

Dr. Gerard wrote:I'm actually signed up to play Fate Accelerated on Sunday morning at 1d4Con in Winchester this weekend, so I should at least be able to talk with some grounding about FA soon!
Yes, please let us know how it goes! I am looking forward to hearing about it. My goal is to play in a Fate or FAE game at Origins this year. Since we are talking about it, I feel I must recommend the Knights of the Night AP podcast. They are running a game of Dresden Files, which essentially uses Fate. (All their other games are excellent too.)

Still working my way through the podcast - loved the discussion on the Star Vampire! One of the first CoC games I ever played in was a 2-hour intro game at Origins where we were tracking down a grad student (Jimmy???) that had summoned a Star Vampire. Good times.
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Re: MU Podcast 054 - Again, WTF is with Cults?

Post by flashbackjuice » Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:26 am

Really great episode! The discussion of how cults can be approached in game terms was a nice complement to the debate about cults in Episode 51.

However, I think the real take home message was the last point Keeper Murph made on the nature of Call of Cthulhu: how we shouldn't stay too close to what is stated in the sourcebooks, and adapt and change aspects of the creatures and cults to suit our needs for the game. I think this one of the reasons why I love CoC over DnD. Thanks again Murph for reminding us what it's all about!

One question: where is the cover image of this episode from?

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Re: MU Podcast 054 - Again, WTF is with Cults?

Post by Keeper Dan » Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:44 pm

The image is a DVD cover for Manos: The Hands of Fate. A truly horrible movie with a really bizarre cult involving unexplained human hibernation, a caretaker with massive knees, and a cat-fight with women wearing diaphanous gowns.
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Re: MU Podcast 054 - Again, WTF is with Cults?

Post by trevlix » Tue Apr 29, 2014 2:00 pm

Keeper Dan wrote:The image is a DVD cover for Manos: The Hands of Fate. A truly horrible movie with a really bizarre cult involving unexplained human hibernation, a caretaker with massive knees, and a cat-fight with women wearing diaphanous gowns.
If you are going to subject yourself to that movie, watch the MST3K version. One of their best.
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