25 thoughts on “Have you played maze rats? Tell me about it.”

  1. I’ve played it online (on Gauntlet with Andrew Shields as GM), and have ran it both on and off-line. I really like it for how quick it is to get going. The rules are super easy to explain. It is lethal, but random character generation is quick and fun so players can hop right back in with a new sheet. I’m linking my AP of the game I ran Sunday using Maze Rats. Let me know if you have any specific questions.

    shoalmont.com – Dolmenwood – Journey to Dreg

  2. Andrew Huffaker I like that it is classless. I like using random tables to get players out of their comfort zones. I think the 3 stats make sense. I like that stats are 0,1,2 (dice modifiers) instead of 3d6. I’ve played the game where partial success was hacked in on rulls of 8+, but I like that success on 10+ means that GM only asks for rolls when it is interesting. I like that damage and hit is the same roll.

    What other rules lite game are you comparing it to mentally? I like that they are mostly variations on a theme, or tools in a toolbox. I run different systems depending on what sort of session I am hoping to run.

    I think Maze Rats encourages players to be reckless, to explore, to roll with weirdness.

  3. Do you feel people aren’t successful that often? Rolling to get +10 seems steep (not accounting for advantage or ability mods, that is)

    I’ve read as many lite games as I could this last week: black, white, macchiato, sinister swords, lady black, Maze, freebooters, funnel world, world of dungeons and I’m sure I’m forgetting some. It just seems likeany of these are the same with minor differences.

  4. Andrew Huffaker I’ve been surprised by how often people are successful. I structure my Maze Rats rolls in a way informed by the roll positioning from Blades in the Dark/ being comfortable with fictional positioning.

    So in the AP I posted, one of the rolls was to get into the lumber camp and create a distraction by creating a fire. The roll was structured in such a way that pass or fail, the distraction would occur – the risk was being caught in a compromised position.

    I think Maze Rats encourages this sort of carefully defining the risk before rolling.

    My other go-to rules lite games are Macchiato Monsters and Troika both of which have a roll-under system for skill/attribute tests.

    A lot of the rules-lite games don’t have the concept of DC, so GM’s can feel powerless over setting difficulty. Roll-under games usually allow the GM to adjust the threshold of success, but this feels clunky to me. “Roll under your Strength… but this is an easy test so add 2 to the target number threshold.”

    I prefer Maze Rats “Roll 2d6+str, you are going to succeed but are risking taking a while to accomplish this task.”

    Anyways, I think you are right that they are the same with minor differences. I like games like MM for running D&D feeling games. People like having 6 stats. If I run old modules I like using MM.

    If I want to encourage non-violent approaches I like Troika because a lot of the default character suck at combat. I also like the implied setting of Troika.

    Maze Rats feels like a good game to run low-prep OSR games and to hack story elements in, like the questions I asked at the beginning of the session (and throughout.)

  5. Max Vanderheyden have you played tunnel world or freebooters?

    As far as MR, my verdict is still undecided. In a way I like all the tables. In a way, I don’t. It doesn’t feel like there is much of a game in there because of the pdf being mostly tables. It’s like an IKEA table without the instructions or something? Haha, and maybe that’s not a bad thing.

  6. So I just read your AP. Interesting that you wrote it in narrative format, like someone would tell it if they were recapping. Very neat. Did you consciously stay away from describing rolls or mechanics?

  7. Andrew Huffaker I think that’s exactly why I like it!

    I haven’t played them but I have read them. I like MR because it feels more OSR than pbta despite having a 2d6 system.

    I would like to play Freebooters.

    Also I don’t like player races, and I don’t like clerics. So those are two things that Maze Rats helps me avoid.

  8. Andrew Huffaker Narrative is my default because I originally started writing AP’s for the audience of my players. I’ve been trying to get better about mixing the narrative with meta-discussion to talk about my GM choices more. That style doesn’t come as naturally to me.

  9. Andrew Huffaker I don’t like the “I’ll play the healer” mentality that my players often bring to the Cleric class. I don’t like the narrative impact of healing magic that makes players diminish the significance/fear of combat. I don’t like having divine favor/attention being made accessible/knowable.

    I mean, I’ve played Clerics, they can be fun. I just prefer settings/systems where they don’t exist. Carcosa, Maze Rats, Troika, Wonders & Wickedness

  10. I’m with you on the healing. I like to have healing be hard. FATE does a great job of this too. You can just lose half your life and then drink a potion. There is a long trudge to completion; that allows for numerous game play styles. I can run horror if you are never close to death.

  11. Also, I never run games where deities or gods are a part of it. I actually despise it. I find it takes away focus from players, it causes weird fights (like alignment can), and it’s ultimately artifice that I’m not privy to or interested in.

  12. Yeah I played a Horror game of Fate with Don Bisdorf. I was pretty surprised when I took 5 harm from a punch in an FAE game ran by Neal Stidham. That was scary.

    Blades in the Dark has a pretty Fate-like hp system and can be pretty lethal.

    I very much enjoy games with character death.

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