Quotes from a discussion I had with someone about Little Fears' rules. This is just a short discussion of the themes implied by the rules of the game - and why I find it so interesting, from the point of view of someone who has two ongoing novels discussing "cubs" who are abuse victims.
I write these novels for the same reason I find Little Fears' handling of these themes so fantastic; and I am not the first one to praise this examination of these dark notions.
(Obviously this crap is just lifted from my chat logs - unedited, so don't expect supreme eloquence. Or even coherence.)
Me: "As for the effects of Fear "... For every additional point lost, your character loses another of his Abilities, so continued exposure to horrifying conditions can mentally, physically, and emotionally paralyze your character."
Monsters can also attack your "spirit." This doesn't just mean the spiritual sense of spirit.
It's hearkening back to the detached, apathetic, emotionally-distant (or outright uncaring) attitudes an abused child will take on. They literally lose the will to connect with others, their empathy shuts down as they smother their own emotions until (at the ultimate level) they become nigh-catatonic."
My friend: "...god damn, this game is depressing."
Me: "It's capable of being light and fluffy, if you want it to be, but it's a game exploring the psychopathology of children in horror situations at its heart - and was initially lauded for how it drew parallels with (and allows you to role play directly) abuse.
A child abused and horrified repeatedly will do ALL of that. In the short term, the Fear will shut him down in those ways. In the long term, he will detach from the world, draw in on himself. His spirit is impacted.
It's important to note this: look, why does this Spirit mechanic exist in the first place? Could not one argue, if it's just a simple "magic that saps the Spirit!" thing, that it should also be in Dungeons and Dragons? It IS but without any of the detail and, well, clear comparison to the psychology of an abused child.
Because that's kinda the point. It doesn't say it outright, but this game has this psychological darkening at its CORE. That's depressing but also fucking impressive.
It forces players to sympathize and empathize with children that have endured this. It may not be pleasant for those who did actually experience it as a child (but I wouldn't ask a boy who saw his mother shot dead to read Tai's Story either), but for the rest of us it's a morbidly interesting thing... and one we can hope helps others to understand and connect with abuse victims."
7 years, 7 months ago
23 Sep 2011 22:15 CEST