Fear Itself

#2 Best Seller

Brand: Pelgrane Press

Format: PDF

A new stand-alone horror game based on the GUMSHOE system

Fear Itself plunges ordinary people into a disturbing contemporary world of madness and violence. Players take the roles of regular folks much like themselves, who are inexorably drawn into confrontation with the creatures of the Outer Black, an unearthly realm of alien menace. With or without its distinctive mythology, GMs can use it to replicate the shudders and shocks of the horror genre in both film and literature.

Fear Itself serves as an ideal platform for one-shot games, in which, like any self-respecting horror flick, few, if any, of the protagonists are expected to survive the climax. It can also be employed to run ongoing campaigns in which the leading characters gradually discover more about the disturbing supernatural reality hiding in the shadows of the ordinary world. Over time, they grow more adept at combating them or spiral tragically into insanity and death.


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.

Creating and Running Adventures

FearThe 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.

Click here to see the demo.