An entertaining, witty short site-based adventure.
There is much to like about Maddness of the Rat King. To begin with, the map of the cavern in which this adventure is set is gorgeous and well laid out. An attentive party will discover more than one route to the lair of the "big baddy". Likewise each part of this cavern is distinctive, having its own unique features, providing a more colorful and varied dungeon delve than might at first be expected. The same can be said for many of the adventure's encounters. There are multiple new "mutant" rat baddies herein to grapple with, some of which allow for moments of humor.
Another virtue of this module is the way in which it rewards problem-solving and clever role-playing. There are a couple of items of treasure which are difficult to retreive. There are means of retrieval built into the module that a clever party may uncover, along with suggestions for how the treasure might otherwise be retrieved. Likewise there are at least a couple of opportunities for the party to overcome an ecounter through diplomacy rather than violence, and receive a boon in doing so.
Also laudible is the fact that this module offers a host of new and interesting items for the party to play with. There are multiple items of magical and mundane treasure to be had, some of which require enginuity on the part of the party in order to profit from.
Finally, there are plenty of opportunities for further adventure hooks and storyline developments offered up in the pages of Madness of the Rat King, particularly if used in conjunction with Fiery Grog Tavern. For a module advertised for 1 to 2 sessiosn of play there's enough material here for a creative GM to utilize for many sessions to come.
While the layout and formatting of this module are more or less good, if simple, this module really could have been better edited. I counted multiple instances of omited or redundant words. In certain places formatting could have been better (e.g. on the first page the sub-heading on the righthand column of the page is not flush with the top of the page for some reason). These are minor details that detract somewhat from the overal quality fo the product. Also, beyond the map of the cavern there are no other images within this module. Had this been a paid rather than simply a PWYW product, I would have deducted a star from my rating based on these shortcomings. However in light of the fact that this is a PWYW product I'm willing to overlook these figure faults.
This is a solid introductory level module, albeit one with some minor issues. I enjoyed the creativity of the design and the lgiht-hearted humor (I know at least one other reviewer did not, but that just goes to show that you can't please everyone). I do agree with other reviewers that this module really benefits from being run in conjunction with Fiery Grog Tavern. This is a module that I woudl consider running at my own table, which is perhaps the best endorsement I can offer of any product.
Ars Phantasia Press