The Fear Itself game system

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Fear Itself is a stand-alone game, based on the GUMSHOE system first introduced in Esoterrorists. GUMSHOE is modular, and Fear Itself offers new options for the GUMSHOE system which can also be used in Esoterrorists or other GUMSHOE games.


Fear Itself Characters

Characters in Fear Itself have numerous hooks which make them perfect for horror adventures.

  • Risk Factors determine why your character goes down into the dark basement. If you don’t follow your risk factor, your sanity can suffer.
  • The CSI-style skill set of PCs in Esoterrorists are simplified to reflect the background.
  • The useful Fleeing ability can get you away from the fearsome creatures which pursue you.
  • Stability – your resistance to insanity – has been more thoroughly detailed, and linked to your sources of stability, friends, family, beliefs and pastimes.
  • Optionally, you can include psychics with powerful but sanity threatening abilities such as Premonition, Remote Viewing and Synchronicty.
  • Each player defines The Worst Thing they Ever Did, which the GM and players can use to inform the characters behaviour and fears.
  • Each character describes their initial attitude to the other PCs, including who they like or dislike. This can be based on initial impressions or intimate knowledge.

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Creating and Running Adventures

The looser structure of a Fear Itself scenario still consists of an investigative line, in which the characters pursue a series of core clues until they achieve a resolution of some sort. The GM or players can introduce flashbacks or directed scenes usually to address a character issue (for example The Worst Thing They Ever Did) or relationship with a source of stability or PC. Additional Unremitting Horror creatures including the fearsome Mystery Man are offered as foils.

Fear Itself includes masses of advice for the GM and players on how to run a horror game, and a detailed adventure The Ocean in the Forest.

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