Game Name: Monsterhearts 2
Publisher: Buried Without Ceremony
Author: Avery Alder
Pages: 175 pages
Retail Price: Hardcover w/ PDF $40.00; Softcover w/ PDF $25.00; PDF $10.00 – currently on sale for $6.90
When the original Monsterhearts arrived on the scene in 2012 people who dig following RPGs from lesser known independent publishers (you know, people like me) immediately took notice. Whereas many horror roleplaying games focus on stories of vast conspiracies and possibly cataclysmic earth shattering events, Monsterhearts looked inward for smaller and more personal tales. Fans of series like True Blood, Supernatural, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer were drawn to the system and its interesting mix of romance, teen angst, and genre horror.
Rather than hunting creatures of the night, usually the player characters are the hunted albeit they tend toward haunted souls less monstrously evil than the typical big bads in RPGs. The game includes The Fae, The Ghost, The Ghoul, The Hollow, The Infernal, The Mortal, The Queen, The Vampire, The Werewolf, and The Witch as archetypes to use right away. There’s an addition archetype (known as a “skin”) which you can download if you want to mimic Buffy or Supernatural with the human hunter element although it does tweak the tone of the game a bit.
Monsterhearts 2 is built atop the popular Apocalypse World Engine rule set, just as the original, and earlier this year author Avery Adler and Burned Without Ceremony released an all new edition of the game. Thankfully, the cool themes and story ideas from the original release either remained in place or were built upon but the game itself became a cleaner and crisper playing experience. Granted, a game along the lines of Twilight or True Blood containing an emphasis on romance/sex/teen age supernatural drama won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but for those who think they might be interested in that sort of thing can rest assured Monsterhearts 2 is excellent and should be given a look.
I’d also be neglecting my duties if I didn’t also inform you Monsterhearts 2 is wonderfully written and one of the most entertaining RPGs you’ll ever read. Even if you aren’t keen on the theme there’s plenty of nuggets to mine for use in your supernatural game of choice. Sorry to say neither edition of Monsterhearts has received much in the way of supplemental material to this point but it surely isn’t difficult to find inspiration, in order to cook up your own tales, on your tv screen or at the local multiplex.