Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Bourbon & Barbarians, Season 2 Episode 10: The End of the Delve

Hile, travelers! Here we are; at long last our party reaches the conclusion of their time at the Deathfrost. Who do they find? What hell is unleashed?
Our episode is freely available on archive.org and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. Otherwise, we have used "Voyager" from the OG Castlevania game for NES and "Bloody Tears" from Castlevania II: Simon's Quest for NES. Music was obtained legally; we hope our discussion of this content makes you want to go out and purchase the work!  "The Chamber" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Likewise Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email us! (thecromcast at gmail dot com)

Monday, January 14, 2019

Season 8, Episode 3: Hawk of the Hills



Happy 2019, Cromrades! For the first Cromcast episode of 2019, we discuss another El Borak tale, "Hawk of the Hills" by Robert E. Howard (read it on Project Gutenberg Australia). This story is equal parts siege story and revenge tale with the geopolitical stability of the entire region at risk! Honor, glory, and trust are at the core of the tale, and a good bit of foresight and manipulation by El Borak! (Competency porn?)

Word Clouds

The first word cloud includes the names "Willoughby" and "Gordon". The second excludes those words. "Men" is one of the primary words used in the story again, along with physical landscape terms like "cave" and "gorge". This time the word "castle" is one of the more frequent terms, as might be expected given the siege that takes place within the story.
The 15 most frequent words in the tale are:

Rank Word Count
1 willoughby 169
2 gordon 158
3 khan 107
4 men 103
5 afdal 92
6 ali 73
7 man 68
8 baber 65
9 back 58
10 castle 52
11 like 52
12 one 51
13 will 50
14 gorge 49
15 cave 40

One Things

Jon: Our pal Benito Cereno's Tumblr! Learn about some Christmas folklore!
Josh: The final boss from Final Fantasy VI. This is the greatest boss fight in video games! The music! The art! The literary themes! If you haven't, play this game! You can get it on Steam, or for iOS or Android!
Luke: The module "Jungle Tomb of the Mummy Bride" from Planet X Games! It's an old-school, grindhouse module for D&D players level 5-7 that you should check out immediately!

Next time: We get acquainted with Harold Lamb and go on an adventure with the Ukranian Grandfather of Conan!


Questions? Comments? Curses?
Email us! (thecromcast at gmail dot com)
You know you want to follow us on Twitter!
Did you know that we're on Facebook?
We're posting photos on the Instagrams!
Subscribe to our feed on FeedBurner!
Or, check us out on iTunes!
We're also on Stitcher Radio and Google Play!
Finally.... Call us! (859) 429-CROM!

Legal Mumbo-Jumbo
Our episode is freely available on archive.org and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ Themes by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. Hip-hop beats provided by Wu Tang Clan, namely "C.R.E.A.M.". All music was obtained legally; we hope our discussion of this content makes you want to go out and purchase the work!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Season 8, Episode 2: The Soul of a Regiment



Cromrades, we merry band of podcasting brothers have another story to discuss! This week's tale is "The Soul of a Regiment" by Talbot Mundy (read it on Project Gutenberg Australia). The story is widely lauded as one of the great stories from the pulp magazine Adventure. What do you think of the story? Let us know!


Word Clouds (47:15)
Note the use of singular words such as "one" and "man" are just as frequent as "regiment" and "men". Interesting, given that the story is about the teamwork of a well trained group being the strength of a regiment. For more commentary, we get into the word cloud discussion at about the 47 minute mark.


One Things

Jon: Creed 2. Go see it! 
Josh: Murder by Death's album The Other Shore. Hear it! 
Luke: Maniac on Netflix. Binge it!


Next time: Back to El Borak with "Hawk of the Hills". 



Questions? Comments? Curses?
Email us! (thecromcast at gmail dot com)
You know you want to follow us on Twitter!
Did you know that we're on Facebook?
We're posting photos on the Instagrams!
Subscribe to our feed on FeedBurner!
Or, check us out on iTunes!
We're also on Stitcher Radio and Google Play!
Finally.... Call us! (859) 429-CROM!

Legal Mumbo-Jumbo
Our episode is freely available on archive.org and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ Themes by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. Pop music includes "Soul Power" by James Brown. All music was obtained legally; we hope our discussion of this content makes you want to go out and purchase the work!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Bourbon & Barbarians, Season 2 Episode 9: Exploration & Information!

Hile, travelers! We return with another episode detailing the party's delve of  Deathfrost!
Our episode is freely available on archive.org and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. "The Chamber" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Likewise Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email us! (thecromcast at gmail dot com)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Season 8, Episode 1: The Daughter of Erlik Khan




Art by Timothy Bradstreet
Here we go, Cromrades: Season 8 has begun! This week, we present a discussion of the Robert E. Howard short story, "The Daughter of Erlik Khan." (read it on Project Gutenberg Australia). This story was first published in the December 1934 issue of the pulp magazine Top-Notch. Though Howard had been writing El Borak stories for years, this was the first story featuring the character that achieved publication! You can certainly see REH's voice coming through in this one, from adventure to westerns to the civilization vs barbarism trope that feature in Howard's works so frequently!

Text Analysis
Over the past few seasons we've made some changes to the format of the show. New for this season is the addition of analytical approaches to the text using a statistics software package called R and a front end called RStudio. Essentially, we will generate three items for each story to aid in our discussions: a word cloud that shows the most frequently used words in the story in tandem with a top ten most frequent words list, and a sentiment analysis score, which provides a numerical rating for the "tone" of the story. Our approach involves taking a .txt file of each story, removing common stop words (i.e. the, is, at, which, on, etc), removing punctuation, converting the words to lower case, and generating the word cloud from the resulting matrix of words. From there, we compare the word matrix to dictionaries of positive and negative words. Here is a look at our R script for those who  might be curious, and here are links to the positive and negative word databases we'll be using.

For a more detailed explanation, we discuss these methods at about the 1:12 mark of this episode.

Word Cloud and Sentiment Score
Within the text of "The Daughter of Erlik Khan", we found a total of 557 positive words and 1,110 negative words using the methods outlined above. That gives us a sentiment score of -553 for this story. That means the tone of the story is generally negative, and you can explain it from the amount of combat and bloodshed that takes place!

It will be interesting to see how other stories in this season score in comparison to "The Daughter of Erlik Khan"!

The top eleven most frequently used words are:

Word
Freq.
gordon
257
man
93
men
93
like
89
one
75
yogok
75
back
67
ormond
64
will
51
came
49
knew
49

We removed the word "gordon" from the word cloud in order to get a better look at the language Howard used. (Click here for a higher resolution copy of the image.) As you can see, "gordon" is an outlier at 257 occurrences vs the next most frequent word "man" at 93 occurrences. As you can see from the word cloud, it's a very masculine story! Hopefully over time, by comparing these word clouds, we can glean some interesting insights into Howard's writing style, demonstrate recurrent themes, and make comparisons between REH and other authors he was influenced by and that he influenced!

What do you think of this new text analysis approach? What jumps out at you from the word cloud? Let us know! 

One Things

Jon: Paradise Sky, by Joe R. Lansdale. 
Josh: Daredevil Season 2 on Netflix
Luke: Downbelow Station, by CJ Cherryh

Finally - check out Rogues in the House, a podcast focusing on heroic fantasy and sword & sorcery in gaming, comics, and pop culture. Tell them The Cromcast sent you!

Other topics discussed in this episode include (but are not limited to): Dodgeball, Ben Stiller, honor culture, Very Bad Wizards, Cassius Clay, Steranko!, Bourbon & Statistics, Disney as the Entertainment Singularity, Afghanistan, yurts, Indiana Jones, and mutton.

Next time
The Soul of a Regiment by Talbot Mundy!

Questions? Comments? Curses?
Email us! (thecromcast at gmail dot com)
You know you want to follow us on Twitter!
Did you know that we're on Facebook?
We're posting photos on the Instagrams!
Subscribe to our feed on FeedBurner!
Or, check us out on iTunes!
We're also on Stitcher Radio and Google Play!
Finally.... Call us! (859) 429-CROM!

Legal Mumbo-Jumbo
Our episode is freely available on archive.org and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ Themes by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. Pop music includes "Respect" by the Notorious B.I.G. All music was obtained legally; we hope our discussion of this content makes you want to go out and purchase the work!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Bourbon & Barbarians, Season 2 Episode 8: Gettin' Back on the Tracks!

Hile, travelers! After a lengthy break in our actual play content, we have returned to the delve into Deathfrost! In case you need to get back on the rails alongside our adventurers, be sure to check out this episode list for our B&B content. Stay tuned... The end to this adventure quickly approaches...
Our episode is freely available on archive.org and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. "The Chamber" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Likewise Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email us! (thecromcast at gmail dot com)