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Maze Rats

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"The referee advice is gold. I know of few better sources for concisely explaining what to prioritize when running this sort of game." - Brendan S, Necropraxis, Wonder and Wickedness

"I often quibble with RPG magic systems either being too complex or too restrictive, but this hit a great balance between flexibility and ease-of-use, while adding a special dash of creativity and Lady Luck." - Ars Magisterii

"Maze Rats is a light, brutal roleplaying game of fantasy adventure which is supported by random inspiration aplenty, which lends itself to a lighter, slightly whimsical tone. It is quick to learn, quick to teach, and easy to play, relying on player ingenuity and cleverness rather than a reliance upon the mechanics." - Reviews from R'lyeh

Maze Rats is an RPG and sandbox toolkit for old-school-style adventuring. It contains a single, compact page of rules, a one-page character creation guide, a hand-drawn character sheet, and eight pages of 36-item random tables, rollable with two six-sided dice. Each page contains 9-12 tables, covering spell generation, monster generation, NPCs, treasures, cities, wildernesses, and dungeons. If you run (or have always wanted to run) open sandbox adventures, Maze Rats offers everything you need in a compact, easily-referenced format. Also included is two pages of advice for preparing and running open-world games in the OSR style.

The game system itself is 2d6 based. Character are extremely quick to generate, making it great for convention games, one-shots, or introducing new players. The game is highly lethal, and assumes a style of play where caution is essential to long-term survival. It is technically classless, but the leveling options allow players to specialize in fighting, thievery or wizardry or some mixture of the three. Magic is simple and chaotic, with new randomly-generated spells filling the magic-user's head each night. Everything about the game is designed to be as clean, fast, and intuitive as possible, while driving players towards creative solutions rather than brute force (though brute force is always an option).

Join our growing Maze Rats community for rules discussions, new tables, and new hacks of the Maze Rats rules! There is also a webapp for automatically generating Maze Rats characters, or you can check out a character creation walkthrough I made if you want to see how it works. You can also find plenty of examples of the game itself in action by watching the Sunday Dungeoncrawl videos on my YouTube channel.


 
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Reviews (9)
Discussions (12)
Customer avatar
October 20, 2017 12:21 am UTC
PURCHASER
I really love the content of this game, but the presentation is frustrating in a way that confuses me. Each page of the PDF seems to be rendered as an image, instead of the text getting rendered as text. I'm sure the text looks fine if you print it out, but on the screen it's a bit pixelated and hard to read without zooming in more than I would like.

I don't want to criticize this product too much, but it's a shame that the great content and layout is accompanied by choppy text. Is this a mistake? Is it a conscious decision where I've missed the point?
Customer avatar
Derek H August 03, 2017 12:27 pm UTC
PURCHASER
On The Wild page, in the Wilderness Region Traits table there is an entry for Dungeon Trait. I don't see a Dungeon Trait table on The Maze page. Was it removed or did you mean something else?
Customer avatar
Colin S March 24, 2017 5:16 am UTC
PURCHASER
Good fun! My players were able to show up for our first session with complete character sheets and more or less a complete understanding of the rules they need to follow. This alone is very appealing to me!
Customer avatar
loic G March 14, 2017 11:24 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Please ask squarehex to make a print edition . The print édition of black hack or black pudding fanzine are top quality and very cheap even for european gamers.
Your game is on my top 3 rules lite games with freebooters on the frontier and into the odd.
Customer avatar
John M June 06, 2017 4:47 pm UTC
PURCHASER
You clearly have excellent taste in games!
Customer avatar
Jon B December 24, 2016 9:29 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I've got a (maybe) strange question. I found out about your game via an old reddit post which linked to an old Dawnforged Cast video of you playing with some folks, Ben, and the Advancements section of character creation reminded me thematically of Darkest Dungeon. I just looked through the current version and found you've changed the way that works and, specifically, narrowed the selection of 'base classes' (Fingersmith, Shadowjack, etc.) which work very differently now.

Is that older version with the Veteran and Magician and Weaponsmaster still available anywhere? I'm curious what drove you to remove that system in favor of the one currently in place.

Thank you, Merry Christmas, and keep on Questing!
Customer avatar
Juhan V December 02, 2016 8:41 am UTC
Will there be a print edition?
Customer avatar
Ben M December 04, 2016 6:03 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Possibly, if I get an artist lined up to do the cover.
Customer avatar
Jeremy H December 01, 2016 12:38 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I like your game a lot. It hits the spot between simple and complex with amazing brevity and depth. Certainly no small feat. One suggestion though, and a minor one at that, would be to match the character sheet more to the rest of the game. The shift from neatly organized columns of text to the more organic character sheet is bit jarring. Maybe have some organic elements intermixed with more regimented text...? Like I said, it's a minor thing and many will probably make their own sheets anyway. It's just something that detracts a little from an otherwise awesome product.
Customer avatar
Scott M December 01, 2016 11:32 am UTC
PURCHASER
Character creation should have the "Secrets" aspect from p6! I'm reading through Maze Rats now, my first thought was "Death Frost Doom" - then I found your video on YT!
Customer avatar
Ben M December 04, 2016 6:23 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
That's an older version of Maze Rats, back when it was based on Into the Odd, but yeah it works great with OSR modules.
Customer avatar
Timothy C November 11, 2016 3:37 am UTC
PURCHASER
Didn't purchase yet just watched the video just wanted to say I really love this format. I'm a senior in high school who only recently got interested in tabletop RPG's so I get really amped and invite friends over on whim to play anything recently bought or researched so sometimes we can't get the rules down quick enough and my printer sucks so one page is PERFECT its compact, adaptable, and simplistic enough for everyone to understand I'm sure I'm gonna make this my next game night! :D
Customer avatar
James G November 07, 2016 1:44 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Any plans to make this OGL like the Black Hack? Could do some cool games with this.
Customer avatar
Ben M December 04, 2016 6:24 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
The newest version is released under Creative Commons, so feel free to hack it! https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Customer avatar
Malcolm S October 31, 2016 7:30 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I can't seem to open the PDF. Multiple download attempts, tried in Chrome and Acrobat. EDIT: Seems to have worked on attempt #4. Must be me. Great game, BTW.
Customer avatar
Robert H October 31, 2016 1:37 pm UTC
PURCHASER
When clicking on the video link I get a "This video is private" message.
Customer avatar
Ben M October 31, 2016 4:16 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Should be fixed now.
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File Last Updated:
March 11, 2017
This title was added to our catalog on October 31, 2016.