In preparation for our annual Extra Life Charity game, Seth and I decided to run a few online RPGs with our various crews, just to make sure we kept those role-playing muscles nice and loose-like. Immediately seizing the opportunity to chose the game that I would lead, I thrust the rulebook for “Monsterhearts” into everyone’s inbox. A game of sexy teenage monsters doing sexy teenage monster things- what isn’t there to love, amirite? And so we came together, chanting in hushed tones as we lit candles around a box set of Twilight, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, and Pretty in Pink.
For those who are still unclear on how Monsterhearts works, it is a game developed by Avery Alder Mcdaldno where players roleplay teenagers -the lot that never listens, stays out late, drinks, parties, sexes things up- in your average High School. Except it isn’t average, because every single one of your players also happen to Monsters! There’s the Queen, a young teenager always surrounded by a clique that she may or may not, for example, telepathically control. The misunderstood and maltreated Witch, who will one day teach them all. The Ghost nobody notices…
…there’s also the Mortal, but who the heck wants to play that boring lot? Here’s a Werewolf!
On the surface this game feels a bit tongue in cheek, and at present most of our sessions have followed that sort of tone. I’m not sure if it is me or the group, but it just becomes a challenge to seriously opine when you have a “sex powers” box right on your character sheet. But underneath the veneer of self-aware awkwardness lies a rather robust and deep representation of real-life issues in the mechanics of the game. This depth is present even if you are playing, like us, in a group that doesn’t always plumb the dramatic depths as deeply as others. For example, you can try to turn on others, but there is no way to control what turns you on. This is a game that tries to grapple with sexuality in a realistic way. You might insist to yourself that you are a Vampire that prefers the fairer, blonder, penis-less sex…but when that Ghoul coolly replies to your witticism in the men’s locker room, it is his roll that determines whether your undead heart skips a beat. So while you might be chuckling a bit at the situation itself, on another level you really have to think this through- your character didn’t realize that they could feel that way about that person. It’s confusing. It’s messy. And it’s pretty cool.
So in the spirit of tying our site closer to the charity wing of AcaGameia, I would like to start popping up segments from our Monsterhearts games. These can take the form of writings from the players themselves, summaries from myself, or just thoughts about some of the major instances in the game. Our next session is currently set for June 17th at about 6:30-7:00 PM EST. If you are interested in engaging with us, we will be live-tweeting the session…and, who knows…maybe I could take some suggestions too?! Check out our twitter at Acagameia (or @Acagameia, if you prefer)!!