I’m on a study project to improve my understanding of roleplaying games. To this end, I already have two reading projects, A Game Per Year and An Adventure Per Year. This is the third, with the goal of reading or playing 52 games made in the last few years. Originally I considered making this “A New RPG Per Week” and that’s where the number 52 comes from, even though a weekly schedule is probably not within my abilities.
And I Lost My Fangs… is a humorous Fastaval scenario by Karoline Cleo Lærke Hatting about famous vampires trying to come to grips with the fact that they’ve lost their fangs. The characters attend a support meeting of FA – Fangless Anonymous, with the GM acting as the facilitator and therapist.
The feel of the game is tragicomic: While the players may find the situation funny, for the characters it’s deadly serious. They feel terrible about losing their potency as mighty lords of the night.
Most of the characters are drawn from pop culture. There’s Edward from Twilight and Count von Count from Sesame Street. In a rare example of intertextuality between scenarios and roleplaying games, one of the characters is called Raven from Funen and he’s from Dancing With the Clans, a Vampire-themed danceoff game. One of his skills is contact with “Mark Reinhagen”, the original designer of Vampire: the Masquerade.
The main substance of And I Lost My Fangs… consists of various therapy exercises the vampire characters can be subjected to so they can get over their loss. They’re based on real-life exercises and it was funny to see that I was familiar with pretty much all of them from both roleplaying and larp.
At its core, a roleplaying game is a social situation, and this means that designing roleplay is social design. Since therapy exercises are also a form of social design it makes sense that they’ve been often used as inspiration for larp and roleplay design.
When I read And I Lost My Fangs…, it feels like it satirizes therapy, vampires and also larp and roleplay design. In a sense, the vampire characters of the game are no more or less ridiculous as we are as people. I’ve done the penguin ice floe exercise in many larps and once participated in a game that was wholly built on gestalt therapy.
We are all fangless vampires in the end.