When it officially emerged in the late 1970s, tabletop roleplaying was a hobby predominantly enjoyed by, and catered to, straight, white, cis men. In the years since, however, it’s become a more vibrant space populated by all sorts of people, prompting a new approach to the way that TRPGs are being made, who they’re being made for and what kind of people are making them. Thanks to platforms like Itch.io and Drivethru RPG, as well as a general shift away from wargaming to storytelling, queer creators have found new and more accessible avenues to share and sell their tabletop roleplaying games.
One TRPG that fully embraces the themes of weirdness, queerness and youth is Monsterhearts 2, a game created by trans designer Avery Alder and based on a system called Powered by the Apocalypse – which has players rolling two D6s and attempting to get more than a 10. Monsterhearts 2 takes a lot of the queer subtext and side stories seen in beloved gothic fiction such as The Craft, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and The Vampire Diaries, and pushes it front-and-centre. Monsterhearts 2 is an openly queer-oriented tabletop roleplaying game that invites its players to explore themes of sexuality and gender through the lens of a supernatural teenage romance dripping with angst.
As the name might imply, players in Monsterhearts 2 create and control characters who are monsters. Others might be aware of who they really are, while some people may not, but their identity as a supernatural being plays a significant part in their lives. There are a number of different kinds of monsters that players can make and embody in Monsterhearts 2, including some absolute classics such as vampires and werewolves, as well as some more avant-garde options like The Hollow – an empty shell that wishes to be made whole – and even a less-than-ordinary mortal. In the game, these monster-types are called Skins and act a little like a class would in a standard RPG.
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