13 August 2021
It’s nice to have, but not essential.
Packed with background lore, spare monsters and side-quest adventures, The Horned Rat Companion is a dense little book and a wonderful resource for GMs who are committed to playing through its accompanying campaign.
Framed as the “DVD extras” to go alongside the feature presentation of The Horned Rat, the Companion is a gloriously messy tangle of supporting elements that didn’t quite make it into the main book. With 15 different chapters squeezed into just 120 pages, it bounces from idea to idea like a skittering firework, offering everything from lore dumps on locations found in the campaign to a new tunnel-fighting profession that would fit nicely into the campaign.
Many of these elements, especially the trio of adventures, feel like genuine add-ons – elements that truly wouldn’t fit into the tone of the campaign book. They throw in new toys that help you to flesh out the world and see off potential issues that might crop up at your table, arming you with all the tools you need to really dig into the adventure.
For example, a chapter on The Brass Keep, a pivotal location in the campaign, does a wonderful job of unlocking ideas and possibilities for GMs to use, transforming an area that’s only really sketched out in The Horned Rat and turning it into a solid edifice of lore.
There is little doubt that the Companion is a fantastic addition to The Horned Rat. It makes the campaign easier to run, and adds in a wealth of extra lore and options that make it infinitely easier to take your game off-piste and support a bit of improvisation around the fringes.
The only question, really, is whether those additions are worth the cost of another book that, in print, anyway, is almost as expensive as the main campaign.
If you’re on the fence, there’s little risk in leaving The Companion on the shelf. It’s nice to have, but not essential.
If you have a bit of room in your gaming budget and plan on devoting several months of adventuring to The Horned Rat, the answer is a resounding yes. It’s a great companion piece and an entertaining read.
Christopher John Eggett
PLAY IT? YES
Publisher: Cubicle 7
This article originally appeared in issue 58 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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