In this article you will find the review of Rats in the Walls, a role-playing game using PbtA system and set in the horror world of H.P. Lovecraft.
Rats in the Walls is a cosmic horror RPG created by Kobayashi inspired in the work of H.P. Lovecraft. However, it has its own interpretations and does not directly use its canonical creatures or gods.
Rats in the Walls uses the 2d6-based Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) game system. Where a roll of 8+ will mean a successful roll but gives freedom to various modifiers and interpretations of the consequences of the roll by the Game Master.
The character sheets run away from the complication: the values of attribute, profession, reputation and equipment are contemplated.
Rats in the Walls has a default setting between the years 1920 and 1936. It has its own monsters and gods, and while it doesn’t directly use any canonical creatures or Elder Gods from Lovecraft’s world, it’s actually easily translatable into the Cthulhu mythos.
Like other games based on the world of Lovecraft, Sanity will also be present in Rats in the walls. The Sanity value represents the character’s ability to deal with threats from beyond. However, in this system sanity can lead to three consequences:
- Do something stupid for 1 turn (temporary insanity)
- Lose consciousness for 1d6 turns
- Act normally in exchange for a “scar” that will mark the character.
Losing sanity points or accumulating too many “scars” can lead the character to become an NPC.
The magic will be easy to use on Rats in the Walls so that it is present in the game. Whenever the character gets a spell, he can use it if he opens his mind to “crawling chaos”. In return the character can lose sanity and there is always a contraindication to the use of this magic.
Rats in the walls was published by The Hill Press after a crowdfunding campaign funded on the Verkami platform (of which we were patrons), where it was accompanied by 2 books: an adventure with the title of The Yellow Signet and a compilation of horroc cosmic stories from Europe, titled Stories from the Old Continent.
Both the narrative and the illustrations included in its more than 300 pages of the manual are excellent.
In short, Rats in the Walls is a role-playing game with a simple system and a manual ready to read and play!, which aims to transport you to the world of Lovecraft in the most narrative way. Ideal for playing one-session games or short campaigns.