Game Name: Little Fears
Author: Jason L Blair
Year: 2009 for Little Fears Nightmare Edition (last update 2013); 2011 for Little Fears 10th Anniversary Edition
Pages: Little Fears Nightmare Edition 194 pages; Little Fears 10th Anniversary Edition 152 pages
Retail Price: Little Fears Nightmare Edition softcover $25.00, PDF $12.00 – currently on sale for $8.28; Little Fears 10th Anniversary Edition softcover $25.00, PDF $12.00 – currently on sale for $8.28
Practically every roleplaying game ever to see print is a years long labor of love for the author(s) and maybe none more so than Jason L. Blair’s Little Fears. That is if love equates to scaring the bejezzus out of you only as I attempts to end up causing you to pee yourself a little. As a whole, Little Fears focuses on the players taking on the roles of children in a world in which monsters are real and, when I mention children, I mean to say little kids anywhere from about four to ten years old. These are characters who are at an age where they’re the most defenseless and victimizable. It’s critical to note Little Fears comes in two flavors (the Nightmare Edition and 10th Anniversary Edition) and they are vastly different in their approach to the theme.
Little Fears: Nightmare Edition is more of a game which provides the sort of spooks and scares one would be accustomed to seeing in the childrens’ section of your local library. There’s plenty of creepiness to be found within but this setting is one in which the world is essentially a good place, filled with fine and upstanding people, and those bad old monsters are sneaking in along the corners of our reality and only the kids know about it. I equate the Nightmare Edition as being along the lines of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series of book and is suitable for gamers of nearly any age.
If Nightmare Edition is Goosebumps then Little Fears: 10th Anniversary Edition is the compete opposite. One might finish reading this core book thinking, “My God! Stephen King is back on the booze and coke and writing RPGs under a new pen name! This is some twisted S@%&!” I kid you not as this is really a dystopian view of a world in which not only do the children face off against fantasy monsters but also very human predators of every vile stripe imaginable. In all seriousness, the original release and the currently available anniversary edition are quite possibly the darkest roleplaying game books I have ever read and I can only recommend this version for mature gamers.
The mechanics of each both editions aren’t too difficult to wrap one’s head around and can make for very interesting one shot tales; you just have to decide which edition best suits your group when concocting the terrors the tiny tots tackle. I should make note of the fact the Nightmare Edition is the much better supported edition and there’s plenty of supplemental material available. In fact, the latest (The Wolf Pack – PDF currently on sale for $8.28) just came out last month.