The award winning Miskatonic University Podcast covers “weird and horrific roleplaying games” with a terrific trio of hosts: Bridgett Jeffries, Dave Sokolowski and the longest continuing cohost Brian Murphy (known as Murph). They all have impressive backgrounds in the hobby. This makes for an enlightening and entertaining time for the listener as they cover new offerings, news and topics in this genre.
The impressive awards earned by this podcast include the Silver ENNIE in 2015, the Gold ENNIE in 2018 and top talk podcast in 2021.
When asked which games their listeners are showing the most interest in, Murphy named “Call of Cthulhu, Mork Borg, Alien, Pirate Borg, Vaesen (really anything by Free League), Into the Odd, Cthulhu Hack and Trophy.” The show has also interviewed some horror tabletop RPG (TTRPG) notables like Chris Spivey, Becca Scott, Seth Skorkowsky and XPLovecat.
How they earned those awards, accolades and celebrity interviews comes down to the professionalism of their crew and the smart format they use on their shows.
First, Let’s Meet the Crew:
Bridgett Jefferies runs Symphony Entertainment which states that its mission is to “bring tabletop gamers together to create, write, run, play and experience our horror TTRPGs.” She is also a published author for Call of Cthulhu, Pirate Borg, Heckin Good Doggos and other systems. As the current Community Coordinator for Chaosium, the publisher for the Call of Cthulhu tabletop roleplaying game, she is front and center for many actual play events.
Dave Sokolowski is a noted Cthulhu writer and has been behind many successful Kickstarters. Some of these Kickstarters include The Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion, Sunspots and He Who Laughs. He has also written for magazines and newspapers.
Brian Murphy was a cofounder of the podcast when it started eleven years ago with Dan Kramer and Jon Hook. They did this when a Call of Cthulhu podcast called News From Pnakotus was ending. Noted Cthulhu author Charles Gerard also joined and left the podcast during this impressive run.
Murphy has been highlighted for special thanks in Chaosium products like the The Grand Grimiore of Cthulhu Mythos Magic. He has also written for zines, created scenarios and games. He states he “appeared on Skype of Cthulhu Actual Play, How We Roll’s Masks of Nyarlathotep – Peru series and occasionally on The Old Ways Podcast’s Vampire the Masquerade – Blood Moon Rising Series One,” and he has also appeared on the podcast The Good Friends of Jackson Elias.
Now, Let’s Examine the Award-Winning Format:
The show itself has various segments with good audio introductions (known as bumpers) like The Campus Crier which relates news about the horror and weird gaming world. The segment starts with the sound of an old mechanical typewriter and then overlays it with the ringing bell of an equally old telephone. You can even picture the type of telephone it is: a rotary dial and a cord that plugs into a wall like you see in black and white movies or hear on old radio detective dramas. The typewriter keeps tapping away, the phone rings again and then you hear the receiver being lifted off and a voice says “Miskatonic University Campus Crier.”
Another great segment is The Listening Room which is where other people create short episodes of horror like The Journals of Laura Logan or the weird Roman Empire History show, Glimpses into the Empire. I personally enjoy the segment, Recent Gaming that goes over what games the hosts have been playing or actual plays they’ve been featured on. Their enthusiasm for TTRPGs shows during their recounting. Bridgett’s Pet Pic Shout Out of the Week is a fan favorite since it involves the fans posting their own pictures of their animal companions.
The podcast is edited by a rotating group of dedicated fans or Murphy himself. It says a lot that fans of the show will take the time to lovingly go over the show’s audio and put it together for other listeners. This podcast comes with over two hundred episodes that are described in detail on their website and Discord, so you have your pick of interviews or subjects that interest you. Check out the Miskatonic University Podcast and enjoy!