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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).

Update: This download now includes the Revised version of Maze Rats, which features hyperlinked page references, bookmarks, and selectable text.


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Reviews (32)
Discussions (42)
Customer avatar
Ronald G March 10, 2024 4:44 pm UTC
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I love the new cover art!
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Ronald G March 10, 2024 4:44 pm UTC
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I love the new cover art!
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Jeremy H March 08, 2024 4:20 am UTC
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What's new in the update besides covers and page numbers?
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Codey P February 01, 2024 4:31 pm UTC
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I feel completely stupid, but how in the world do you get this to print in a booklet style without any finagling? The Spreads version doesn't work. Is there a Booklet version that has been removed?
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SEAN O March 30, 2024 6:37 pm UTC
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Get your scissors. No, the spreads version is not set for booklet, you can tell because page 2 and 3 are side by side, it can never work.
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TM T April 26, 2024 4:12 am UTC
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I use Foxit PDF Reader, which is free and has a "Booklet" printing option. Use that with the "Pages" version of Maze Rats and you're all set!
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Shaun S November 28, 2023 12:52 am UTC
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For whatever reason, it's not letting me add a review, so here it is:

This is definitely a meatier version of the game, compared to the version I got in Odditional Materials. Version 4.3 has 24 pages, compared to the 8 pages of the version from a couple years prior.

Maze Rats is absolutely worth it for anyone who's looking for a lightweight RPG, and it's ideal for solo play. It's $5 well-spent, and even better when it's on sale. FIVE STARS. Get it now!
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Ash H September 07, 2023 1:30 pm UTC
Wish there was a pod version. I have a really hard time with pdfs.
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Alex W September 13, 2023 5:19 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Print it out? It's formatted to fold into a neat booklet and required very few sheets of paper becuase it's so short.
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Ash H September 13, 2023 7:03 pm UTC
Unfortunately the print shop near me sucks. They can't even print a pdf right. Last time I was there it took them several prints and the last one is still off. I gave up on them. I am not sure where else to go.
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Customer avatar
Alex W September 17, 2023 12:22 am UTC
PURCHASER
Don't you own a printer?
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Customer avatar
Ash H September 18, 2023 6:24 am UTC
No, I can't afford one.
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David M October 10, 2023 1:21 am UTC
do you have a public library anywhere nearby?
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Customer avatar
Ash H October 11, 2023 1:38 pm UTC
Yes, I do, unfortunately their system is pretty much unusuable. Just printed some things yesterday, and most of my prints were messed. I am unable to print double sided do to the other side printing upside down, and no way to fix it. They made it tedious to upload files. I had throw away 2 of my single sided, because it cut off the print at the edge, and again no way to fix it! The whole thing is not worth my time or energy to print at the library. I will have to fine a print shop. I have many things I want to print, but unable to rigjt now.
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Customer avatar
Pete R January 22, 2024 8:04 am UTC
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Lulu will print for you
Customer avatar
Kevin N July 14, 2023 3:57 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I was not interested in the Knave Kickstarter but am very much interested in Maze Rats for my children. Is the updated print version going to be available on DTRPG by Christmas?
Customer avatar
Terry L April 26, 2023 7:18 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Ok I feel really stupid here, but I can't seem to figure out how to print this in booklet format. I have tried printing the v4.3 booklet file double sided, but the pages don't appear to line up as expected when I try to put them together and fold the document. Any ideas?
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Customer avatar
Dave R April 29, 2023 3:44 am UTC
Adobe Acrobat reader has a booklet format print mode. Have you tried that?
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Aaron K June 04, 2023 4:48 pm UTC
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I had a similar confusion and couldn't get booklet to line up. I printed the booklet file as a regular print on both sides, flip on short edge and it came out great. Hope that helps.
Customer avatar
Joseph A January 19, 2023 1:55 am UTC
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I love how Ben makes this look effortless... thanks to his review of Gardens of Ynn... I purchased that too.
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Adam D December 30, 2022 5:48 pm UTC
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This and Knave are the best light-yet-complete-feeling options I have seen for classic dungeons: Maze Rats for generating your own content, and Knave for running pre-existing content. Feel free to combine them at will. I use the 100 level-less spells from Knave to inform my interpretation of Maze Rats spells, which can generate astronomical numbers of combinations.
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Norman S December 30, 2022 1:47 pm UTC
PURCHASER
The biggest problem I had running this game was: how does one do a perception check?
I guess narratively speaking if the PCs say they're scanning the street vigilantly for anything strange - no need to roll.
I had this problem with hidden traps, it was either they just find the hidden thing.. or they always set it off and make a 2d6 roll.
anyway..
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Adam D December 30, 2022 5:42 pm UTC
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Ben has a great video on this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RY_IRqx5dtI His point is that players should always see signs of things. Unsuspected Ambushes can feel cheap and rob you of suspense. It's fun to see obstacles and figure out what they do and how to stop them. So yes, I would say, give detail freely to anyone looking, and have lots of ominous detail to give. I would ALSO borrow the 'click' rule from AngryGM, showing the slow-motion of the danger about to happen, then ask what the players try to do about it. Clever plans don't roll. Checks are for danger, and there is no danger to checking per se.
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Shaun S November 28, 2023 12:44 am UTC
PURCHASER
I agree with Adam - and this is a concept you'll see in a lot of games based on OSR stuff like Knave and Cairn, as well as the 24XX series of games. GM transparency is important - telegraph danger to players and let them know the risks, and then let them make informed choices.
In this way, if a character knowingly undertakes (and perhaps fails) an action that may have serious or even lethal consequences, it is a choice rather than a "surprise" beyond their control.
Customer avatar
Paul T June 08, 2022 10:31 am UTC
PURCHASER
An excellent lightweight ruleset with some really, really good tables for generating content on the fly. A single pages or A4 version would help non-US customers with printing, but other than that it's really great!
Customer avatar
Adrian M January 17, 2022 1:39 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Please, I implore oh mighty Questing Beast! A text/word version of the document in Word or similar form, like Knave!
Customer avatar
Ash H December 13, 2021 2:03 am UTC
What happened to the pay-what-want?
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Customer avatar
Adam D December 30, 2022 5:51 pm UTC
PURCHASER
That was a limited time offer ;) But seriously, many in the community have hailed this as such a great resource for ideas for so long, I'm glad I threw a few coin for what is clearly a lot of loving work. We have got to support all artists where we can.
Customer avatar
Egor R July 16, 2021 4:35 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hi! I have a question!

On page 9, "The Wilderness" in the "Wilderness Region Trait" table there is a reference to some "Dungeon Trait". But there is no corresponding table anywhere in the book. Maybe it should reference "Dungeon Layout" instead?
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Customer avatar
Shawn E October 26, 2021 2:17 am UTC
Did you ever get an answer?
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Customer avatar
Egor R October 30, 2021 11:09 pm UTC
PURCHASER
No, I didn't. =)
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Customer avatar
Shawn E October 31, 2021 2:09 am UTC
Trait and Layout seem different, so I am wondering if an older version had a chart that's just missing. I suppose you could make one. Look at the last chart for the Inn for an idea?
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Customer avatar
Adam D December 30, 2022 5:56 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I don't think there is a missing chart. All the grids can start to make you look for labels where it may be more of an idea. I took that to mean roll a trait from a dungeon. The Maze page, like most of it, has 12 charts to roll on that I consider to all be the dungeon traits. So I roll d12 on the chart and THEN roll for whatever goes with that, re-skinning for the wild as necessary. Hope that helps!
Customer avatar
Krisse T June 30, 2021 10:54 am UTC
PURCHASER
Bought this yesteday. Read it. Liked it. Not played it yet, but I got an urgent itch to play for it... <3
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Adamantine seller
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13
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13.94 MB
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File Last Updated:
January 21, 2024
This title was added to our catalog on October 31, 2016.