MU Podcast 060 - Manuscript of Secrets and Shadowed Halls

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Keeper Dan
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MU Podcast 060 - Manuscript of Secrets and Shadowed Halls

Post by Keeper Dan » Mon Jul 14, 2014 5:39 pm

In this episode, we’re cracking open a real-life mysterious tome written in half-mad scribblings (no, not that one), and correct the record on its game stats. Plus, we talk about our alma mater, and why it makes for such a great home base. This episode was recorded on June 29, 2014.

Campus Crier
  • Check out the animated filmThe Lurking Fear. Warning: it's not an adaptation of the HPL story, but it's got a rich Lovecraftian center.
  • Shadows Over Normandie- A Heroes of Normandie Boardgame License for Achtung! Cthulhu
  • Charles Gerard (Keeper Chad) has been named as one of the authors in a stretch goal PDF for the upcoming Invictus book, Golden Goblin's next Kickstarter! His first pro-published scenario! The main book is called De Horrore Cosmico, and features some heavy-hitters in the CoC writing world. Each scenario is inspired by an HP Lovecraft story. The stretch goal PDF is called Terror on the Borderlands.
Card Catalog

This week, in keeping with our main show topic, why not check out the Chaosium-licensed Miskatonic University website, which is still alive after more than 15 years!

History Lecture
And we have another lecture from Dr. Gerard on the topic of: The Ripley Scrolls

More information here.

Cryptocurium Spot
Cryptocurium is proud to announce the opening of their Etsy store! Folks can look forward to one of a kind exclusives to be offered in the store as well as some discontinued items in the near future.

And if you haven't seen it yet, check out the "Houdini's Secret" Prop Collections.

Special Collections
This week, we're exploring the Voynich manuscript, a real-life tome that might have helped to inspire Lovecraftian inventions like the Necronimicon.

Ken & Robin Talk About Stuff covered the book in episode 65. This is great place to start for the basics. The Voynich segment starts around 1 hour and 3 minutes into the show.

Later, they covered recent news of a partial decoding in Episode 79.

We dug up the actual academic article about the partial decoding.

The book was covered in an episode of Blurry Photos.

For more information, check out these other links:

Cipher Mysteries

A page of detailed history background.

A link to the Beinecke Library, where the actual tome is kept.

A digital copy on

Or buy your very own reproduction.

It gets plenty of mentions on YSDC.

And more on a website called "Wikipedia."

Oh, and Chad mentions the old 90s TV show, Friday the 13th, as a model for a possible artifact-collection campaign surrounding the curiosity cabinet of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II.

Main Topic
This episode we take a look at the merits of Miskatonic University as a game setting.

Chaosim source books:

Miskatonic University (2005)

Arkham Unveiled

Libris Miskatonici

Arkham Now

Along the way, we mention Harvard's tunnel system, which might have inspired Chaosium writers to include an underground network for Miskatonic U.

And check out a fascinating episode of Radiolab about living cancer cells and the woman whose flesh spawned scientific breakthroughs without even knowing it.

Dan here- Sorry for the delay in the release. I was out of town this weekend and had a delay in the edit.
Keeper Dan of the Miskatonic University Podcast

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Re: MU Podcast 060 - Manuscript of Secrets and Shadowed Hall

Post by Graham » Tue Jul 15, 2014 4:58 pm

Good episode.

But you missed one other podcast on the Voynich Manuscript, which has another possible idea for what the book may have been:

And this web based college:

Where you can get pretty certificates as quick as a flash... ;)
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Re: MU Podcast 060 - Manuscript of Secrets and Shadowed Hall

Post by Magnus Nordlander » Tue Jul 15, 2014 7:21 pm

XKCD already solved the mystery of the Voynich manuscript:


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Re: MU Podcast 060 - Manuscript of Secrets and Shadowed Hall

Post by Gladius » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:40 pm

Like Keeper Chad, I'm very pleased to be part of the upcoming stretch goal of Golden Goblin Press' Kickstarter mentioned in this episode. My scenario is entitled "A Balance of Blood". I'm sure we'll hear more about the Kickstarter and stretch goals as Sept. 12th approaches!

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Re: MU Podcast 060 - Manuscript of Secrets and Shadowed Hall

Post by fox01313 » Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:16 pm

Great show guys! Out of the Secrets or similar sourcebooks, Secrets of San Fransisco & the Miskatonic U are my favorites & so much insane depth to them both that they're highly recommended. I think it would be a fun idea to take the Miskatonic U rules for making college student junior investigators to go about all the local strangeness then build the group out to Arkham & the rest as they grow. I like the idea though of going through the Investigator Companion book to go after the smaller in popularity professions like the janitor or whatnot to make the game much more interesting at sneaking around without being noticed to find more clues.

Congrats on the kickstarter in the future, sounds like a lot of fun in store for Cthulhu gaming. :yay:
"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 060 - Manuscript of Secrets and Shadowed Hall

Post by The Pyat » Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:07 am

18 various elements within the Voynich manuscript converge on northwest Europe as the origin. 63 words so far indicate a Finno-Ugric origin with a possible Slavic influence. 15 points on its map correspond to Sortavala. And most likely, why it has remained a mystery for 600 years is because no man wrote it.

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Re: MU Podcast 060 - Manuscript of Secrets and Shadowed Hall

Post by trinite » Thu Jul 17, 2014 3:40 pm

Good episode! It was riveting enough to get me to register an account to respond. :D

One thought I've had is how to use Miskatonic University in a modern setting.

Rather than making it still an Ivy League-quality school, I like to think that it fell on hard times after a series of disasters and misadventures in the 1920's. Its reputation began to decline, and along with it went the enrollment figures and endowment. Now Miskatonic University is just a shadow of its old glory. Several of the science building rooms have been closed off as environmentally unsafe, and what labs do remain open have pathetically outdated and often unreliable equipment. The Archaeology and Anthropology department hasn't sponsored any new international field work since the embarrassing Syrian dig back in '86, and it's developed a reputation as a haven for cranks and disgraced academics who have lost positions at finer institutions (though a few professors still have a good reputation for their work on local pre-Columbian sites in Massachusetts and Vermont).

Still, the library is very well maintained, and still in its original Gothic Revival building -- the librarians lament that it hasn't outgrown its facility in 90 years, blaming the meager acquisitions budget. But some of the old endowments from certain early 20th century Arkham antiquarians still generate purchasing resources, though these are often earmarked for rather obscure subject areas due to specifications in their creators' wills (the Gilman endowment for higher mathematics and New England folklore is a case in point). The result is a collection that gets older, stranger, and less relevant to a modern curriculum every year. The Armitage Special Collections are still quite well curated, and protected by unusually high tech security systems (according to rumor, some sort of ongoing government grant funds their continual improvement).

In short, modern Miskatonic University is a relic, perhaps of interest to students seeking a particular old-timey aesthetic type of college experience, or to the scions of old Arkham families whose legacy status can garner them cheap tuition. But for the most part, the contemporary academy pays it little attention, except perhaps as a cautionary story about what can happen to a "former Ivy" through mismanagement of resources and excessive ambition.

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Re: MU Podcast 060 - Manuscript of Secrets and Shadowed Hall

Post by BoscoBoy » Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:59 pm

The story Murph was trying to come up with was "The Disciple", by David Barr Kirtley.

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Re: MU Podcast 060 - Manuscript of Secrets and Shadowed Hall

Post by Shannon Mac » Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:50 am

Best parts:

1. Voynich; and

2. Janitorial characters at MU. Go Pods!
My gaming blog with pretty pictures:

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