Inside Pulse 12

Tabletop Review: The Big Book of Little Spaces: Haunts

The Big Book of Little Spaces: Haunts
Publisher: Moebius Adventures
Cost: $3.99
Page Count: 19
Release Date: 04/29/2014
Get it Here: DriveThruRPG.com

This nineteen page PDF is a collection of six previous Little Spaces releases that have come out intermittently over the last year or so. All six (Abandonded Places, Creepy Copses, Ghostly Effects, Gruesome Graves, Horrid Hallways and Scary Basements) shared the same horror theme, so Moebius Adventures decided to bundle the collection into one supplement. Each PDF in the Haunts series sell for a dollar each, so you’re saving two dollars by buying the collection, and you only have a single PDF to manage as well.

So what is The Big Book of Little Spaces: Haunts? Well it’s a collection of system neutral random charts. Now, these charts aren’t for random encounters or loot, but rather they are to help the Storyteller/GM/Whatever get their imagination churning, and thus provide better descriptions, moods and overall ambiance for his or her gamers. You essentially have three charts. The first one you roll a d8 for and it gives you a Sense. The second chart has you roll a d20 and you get a Descriptive Element. The third chart has you roll a d100 on the specific sense chart you rolled for with the d8, giving you a specific sense descriptor. After getting your three random bits, the DM using Little Spaces should be able to put the three pieces together to create a creepy piece of background text for their adventure. Does it work? Let’s try it together with a Scary Basement.

First I roll my d8. I roll a 5 which, according to the chart, is “Taste.” On the second chart I roll a d20. I get a 6, which correlates to “Kitch.” Finally, I roll a d100 on the Taste chart. I get a 21, which is “Burnt.” This means I have to put all three together into a narrative that will help my game. Of course, kitch are usually cheesy knick-knacks, so it’s hard to imagine when you would taste one, but let’s see what we can do.

You slowly descend into the burned out cellar. Like the rest of the amusement park, you appear to be the only human visitors in some time. As you wade through the spider-web that seem to saturate the room, you can’t help but notice the taste of smoke and charred wood tickling the back of your tongue, as if the disaster that befell Funland happened only recently. You know this to be a trick of the mind, and that the taste is probably just the amount of ashes and dust that proliferate the basement, but you can’t help but wonder what it is about this place that seems even creepier than the rest of the park. Perhaps it’s the scores of scorched midway prizes lining the far wall. Their melted eyes staring at you. Their scalded plastic and fur ensuring they will never have a home or a moment where a young child regards them with love or fondness.

So yeah, The Big Book of Little Spaces works, more or less. Of course, I’ve been playing RPGs since I was in first grade, and I’ve been writing for the Industry since I was in high school, so while that took me thirty to sixty second to write, it might not be that easy for other people. Veteran gamers are probably set in their ways and thus either don’t need help doing descriptions for their adventures or they don’t bother with descriptions since they run hack and slash affairs that are nothing but dice rolling, and thus while they NEED something like this, they also don’t realize said need. New GMs will probably get the most use out of this, as The Big Book of Little Spaces is more a creative writing tool than anything else. Even then, the possibility arises for a set of rolls you simply can’t work with.

While I can’t necessarily say that The Big Book of Little Spaces will ever find a large audience or be that helpful to many a GM, it is worth noting it might have missed its calling as a beer and pretzels style game where each player rolls on the charts and has to come up with a short scenario featuring their rolls with only a minute of prep time. If you can’t pull it off, you’re out. Keep going until only one player remains.

I like the idea of The Big Book of Little Spaces: Haunts, as it was fun to flip through and was well written, but I can’t say it’s something I’d ever make regular use out of. Nor can I think of people that really can use this other than neophyte gamers. It’s an interesting piece, and the potential for fun is there. It’s just trying to figure out who to recommend such a PDF to is the hard part.

  • Thank you very much for the great review! And yes, there is always the possibility for rolls you can’t work with, though for me that always serves as more of a challenge than a road block. It’s part of the fun of getting a collection of random items together and figuring out how they go together. :)

    Glad you liked the product overall. And the idea of a beer & pretzels game utilizing this approach might be worth exploring!