Fables Around the Table is an RPG anthology podcast from Project Derailed. Each season will be an actual play mini-campaign featuring tabletop RPG systems in a variety of genres and settings. A revolving cast of players and game masters bring the games to life. You can listen to the first season Curse on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, or whever listeners get their podcasts.

Fables Around the Table: Tainted Love will premiere its first episode Wednesday, August 26, with an introduction of the characters and system releasing on August 19.

Follow Fables Around the Table on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tainted Love

The year is 1996. Spice Girls rule the radio. Romeo + Juliet is all the rage in movie theaters. All good shoes have at least a 2 inch platform. Hot topic is still filled with Tripp NYC pants, fishnet gloves, and corsets. The mall goths of LA rejoice.

Oh, and the Visigoths crash the mall now, I guess.

For nearly a year, the Visigoths and Mall Goths have clashed between the walls of the Hawthrone Shoppes Mall. Love has been lost. People have been embarrassed. Feelings have been hurt. Territory has been divided up as the two groups fight for control of the mall. Well, at least it gives the rest of us mall rats something to watch.

The latest in the series of petty competitions looks to be a scavenger hunt. The owner of the mall thought it might be good press to put a statue of one of the important locals nearby. Dude looks kind of like a scrub, but I dig the ritzy outfit he’s in. I give it about two days before that thing is vandalized. To celebrate the statue, the owner is offering a $100 gift certificate for the person who can bring the items worth the most points on the list. The Visigoths always love a chance to prove their dominance, but 100 dollars is a pretty penny to a Mall Goth. That’s at least one pair of Demonias.

The more I look at that statue though, the weirder it looks. I swear that gnarly thing is looking at me. Yeah, As if.

– Mallrat Chelsea

Visigoths vs Mall Goths: A Tabletop Role Playing Game and Dating Sim

Visigoths vs Mall Goths is a brand new game from Lucian Kahn about participating in mall rat culture in 1996. After an Ouija Board ritual gone wrong, Visigoths from the fifth century travel forward in time to the 1990s. They realize the world is a lot bigger than it used to be and decide to start their new conquest on something small: the local mall.

The 2d6 system is built to facilitate the role-playing aspect of the game. Instead of rolling for damage, all rolls are made to resolve conflicts. This includes rolling against other players when there is a fight to see whose feelings are hurt, shoplifting the cool new hoodie to stick it to the man, or to convince Vulfi at Lemon Theodosius to stop scaring the children who walk by.

With the focus on relationships, there is no physical damage in Visigoths vs Mall Goths. Instead, players keep track on their hurt feelings. Once a player has too many hurt feelings, they are overcome with emotion and need to pull their friends away to talk about what’s making them upset. Goths gain hurt feelings from having verbal arguments with each other or embarrassing themselves for the good of others. If a Goth chooses to embarrass themselves, they make the people around them look that much cooler, giving their friends a +3 to whatever roll they’re trying to make.

Visigoths vs Mall Goths also supplies a map of the mall filled with gothic flavored shops for your players to explore with varying levels of loyalty to each group of Goths. Each store has NPC shop clerks to interact with for things like convincing them to give you a discount or for possible romancing.

The game is made to simulate romance and other relationships between two unlikely groups of people. All types of people and relationships are applicable here. Do you want to play a bisexual cis Visigoth who uses gothic pronouns? You can do that! Do you want to play an asexual transboy who just wants to see his friends happy? You can do that! Do you want to play a questioning genderqueer person who’s just trying to feel things out? You can do that! Visigoths vs Mall Goths celebrates queerness in the Goth subculture.

Visigoths vs Mall Goths contains the following themes: religion and spirituality (reverently and irreverently), imperialism, fear of coming out as LGBTQ, kidnapping, meat-eating and animal product, teens kissing and making out, outsider status, cartoonish violence, shoplifting, illegal drug use, earthquakes, obnoxious subcultural gatekeeping, moral ambiguity, capitalism, and lycanthropy. (pg 30 of Visigoths vs Mall Goths Handbook)

Find Visigoths vs Mall Goths on itch.io, or pre-order a softcover copy with Backerkit

The Story

There’s been a chain letter going around to all the residents of the Hawthorne suburbs. It’s another “send this to 10 people or else the ghost will come haunt you!” story, but this one is uncomfortably close to home. It reads as follows:

To: Bl4ckN1ght1nMyS0ul43v3r@aol.com
From: xXJezzikaluvssmexybatsXx@aol.com
CC: KissySpice1198@aol.com, BHandtehBoilz@aol.com, Turtlebabe22@aol.com, NsyncJustinFan999@aol.com, VulfiTheGothGF@aol.com, BarNDar@aol.com, SmellsLikeXimenaSpirit222@aol.com, WolfofMoonstone@aol.com, Dontfckingemailmefck@aol.com

NOW THAT YOU HAVE STARTED READING THIS, YOU MUST FINISH OR ELSE THEY’LL COME FOR YOU!!!

20 years ago, the Hawthorne Shoppes was built over the ground of the Le Fanu estate. The Le Fanu family help established the city and influenced the way of things since their arrival. They funded the library, the city council, and the fire department. They even gave their time to becoming doctors for the town! The family eventually disappeared, leaving the estate abandoned. OR SO WE THOUGHT!!!!!!!!!

The ghost of Count Le Fanu, the man who established all of these things is enraged that his estate has been destroyed! Especially now that it’s constantly filled with people who’ve TAKEN HIS FAMILYS GIFTS FOR GRANTED!!! He knows that all of you love the Hawthorne Mall that was placed on top of this estate and WILL SEEK HIS REVENGE!!!

But he will spare you… As long as you send this to 10 other people to spread the word about the TRAGEDY that befell Count Le Fanu! If not… he’ll be seeing you soon… and let him have mercy on your SOUL!!!

This email has been spreading like wildfire, and, while it screams bullshit, lots of people are taking it seriously. People are receiving it an average of three times a week. Perhaps that’s why the management at the mall has decided to commemorate Count Le Fanu in the center of the mall. Everyone knows a statue will be just the thing to make the problem go away.

The normal residents at the mall all have opinions about the new addition. Some think it’s performative. Others think it’s a good idea. Others are too busy wanting to kiss each other to really notice that there’s a change. No matter what, one thing is for certain: whenever something new comes to the mall, all hell breaks loose.

The Characters

Jezebel Rainn Drake – Mall Goth Theatre Tech
She/her, Bisexual

Let’s get it out of the way: yes, that’s my real name. My parents are hippies. This isn’t the outcome they pictured when naming me, but there you have it. My friends call me Jez. People are always surprised when I tell them I do theatre tech work. Why? It’s perfect. I get to take things apart, put them back together, wearing black is required, and I get to control everything from the dark.

Razia and I go way back; we’ve been the weird goth kids since we’ve met. They taught me how to do make up and I beat all the hard levels for them in their video games. The rest is history. Now we go to the mall and occasional concerts together. There is, of course, the whole Visigoth situation. They were a part of that whole… Summoning. I was there. So, that’s a biiit of a mess, but hey, I’m good at cleaning up messes. Or, at least, making them ignorable. Not that Visis have made themselves easy to ignore.

So, there you have it. I finally survived high school and this is my last summer before college. I… Haven’t told Raz yet about college. If I get accepted, I’ll be moving away, but, no point in bringing it up if it’s not set in stone yet, yeah? We have other problems to deal with. And I’d like to enjoy the our last summer at the mall–so I’m not gonna let anyone or anything ruin that.

Razia Baudelaire – Mall Goth Witch
They/Them, Bisexual

Let’s get a few things clear: I am one hell of an experience and getting to know me is delightful, Baudelaire is a family name and whether or not I’m related to the iconic goth poet of the same name is largely up in the air, and finally I am ‘partially’ responsible for this whole Visigoth thing.

So where to begin on the last one… Well Jez and myself were doing what any reasonable Mall Goths would do: conduct occult rituals (technically I was the one conducting ritual, but it’s good have someone on standby just in case something bad happens (◕ᴗ◕✿)). My ritual was simply to contact them and get them to answer somethings for me, but, when one is as powerful as I am, you’re ritual for contacting the spirits of the dead becomes a summoning ritual. Whoops… Happens to the best of us.

Ghosvintha – Visigoth Conqueror
She/her, Bisexual

So I’ve been in the future… the present? For a year now. I like to think I’ve adjusted to everything alright. I’ve finally gotten used to the fashion (and found the most dominant of the headwear), but sometimes it’s still very overwhelming to be out and about with everyone else. I was never good with people back when we were all with my people, but these modern humans? They’re just so… different.

I’ve made my refuge at Gerbil Essences, and I like to spend time with the animals there. Animals haven’t changed after all of these years. They truly understand me. The people who work there are okay too. They’ve helped me adjust to almost everything. Everything except for one thing… I miss my horse.

Gainas was the light of my life and the fire in my heart. Together we would ride through the fields with my spear by our side, ready to conquer whatever was in front of us! I hope that he made his way to Gaul to let the others know what happened to me but… maybe that’s too much to ask of him. One day I’ll return to you, Gainas, and we will ride once again!

Beric Radamir – Visigoth Charlatan
He/him, Questioning

Man, what’s even the point anymore?

We’ve been in this new time for a year now and what has it shown us? It feels like all the rules are made up and nothing even matters anymore. What was the point of spreading our religion so much if it all amounted to nothing? Did our conquest even mean anything? Most people don’t even know who we are, and we were the ones who took down Rome! ROME!

So now, fuck it. If nothing matters and being serious meant nothing, let’s push our luck. Let’s see how much chaos we can stir up here. We’ve done our part assimilating into the culture, and now it’s time to leave our mark here. If the people of today think they can mess with our lives and get away with it, fine. Let’s see how they like a taste of their own medicine.

The Cast

Chelsea Riexinger as the Mall Rat (Game Master)

Chelsea is an artist, writer, and candle maker. She has a great deal of experience playing and game mastering tabletop RPGs in a multitude of settings. Chelsea calls on her actual mall goth experience to craft Fables around the Table: Tainted Love. She also created most of the art used for Tainted Love. Chelsea has also been a guest on Project Derailed’s Twitch streams.

Buy her candles from Plot Kindling Candles and follow her on Twitter

Kaitlin McClendon as Mall Goth Jezebel

Kitty is a long time player of RPGs of all kinds and all around enjoyer of the arts. You can find her often on twitter engaging in discourse about accessibility and diversity in tabletop games and all other aspects of life. She made a guest appearance on Fables around the Table: Curse as Kelly Rookwood.

You can find her on Twitter

Daniel Walker as Mall Goth Razia

Daniel is an avid tabletop RPG player. He has experience both as a player and as a game master. He enjoys making elaborate schemes for his characters and tricking his friends both in and out of games. This is his second appearance on Fables around the Table, after playing J.C Rookwood on Curse. Daniel has appeared on Project Derailed Twitch streams in addition to his role on this podcast.

Fiona L.F. Kelly as Visigoth Ghosvintha

Fiona is a professional writer and editor. She is the current editor-in-chief of Project Derailed. She has published numerous articles about all things gaming and pop culture on websites all across the internet. She was also a writer for the latest edition of Trinity Continuum: Aberrant. In addition to her writing and editing, she has also been a guest and host on several podcasts. She hosts the Project Derailed podcast Big Streaming Pile and plays the githyanki pirate Rav’nys on Tales of the Voidfarer. She also was the storyteller/chronicler for the first season of Fables around the Table.

Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Podchaser. Buy her a coffee.

Rodger Page as Visigoth Beric Radamir

Rodger as been playing games and being a goofball for years. Tainted Love is his first foray into rpg podcasting. Despite his lack of experience, he makes up for that with ample charisma and personality in his characters. Rodger enjoys talking about music, making his friends laugh, traveling, and going on adventures with his dog, Luna. Rodger has also appeared on Project Derailed Twitch streams.

Follow Luna on Instagram