Island Rats

The remaster no one asked for! 😀

This is the marvelous Maze Rats with the glorious gunpowder sandbox Hot Springs Island.

Friends and I were talking about Hot Springs Island at a party (Happy 21st, Jon!). Made me remember this game (find the old version here). And there were some changes I wanted to make.


List of changes:

  • The obvious one. It’s now “Island Rats” instead of “Maze Rats.” It will NEVER catch on, but someone pointed out to me how it was confusing to call this “Maze Rats 5.3” (now “Maze Rats 5.4”). I swear will still wear my Maze Rats t-shirt to the sessions of this I may never run.
  • Reduced encumbrance. Two hands, two on the belt, six in the backpack.
  • GAH. Armor is now base six again. I’m so wishy-washy, my goodness.
  • Health slightly reduced from 7+STR to 6+STR. More washy-wishhhy.
  • No more Health increase per Level. Electric Bastionland has taught me that Health per Level is silly.
  • Fewer rolls for character creation. Two starting tools instead of three. Only one background per character instead of two.
  • Reduced healing for the Disciple. That was out of hand.
  • Dying rules redone. After hearing the Questing Beast interview of the Bard (of Heroquest fame) and Dael Kingsmill, I loved the idea of a mortally wounded character. Check it out.
  • Added the 108 fantasy spells. GET THOSE D100s OUTTA HERE! Now, this means the page count is up to six, which certainly causes me the most grief. I mourn this.

Enjoy crawling through the Hot Springs Island. 🙂

PS: That makes three different systems in three days. Woof.

5 thoughts on “Island Rats

  1. Hello again!

    Thanks for the remaster. I Have some questions.

    The first one is, Can I still use the monster builder that you posted for Maze Rats 5.3? And if I can, have you considered the idea of change the health for the monsters now that the characters will not increase their health? And if you do how you will do that?

    And the last one. Have you made some change to the Special Attacks Armor? I liked the idea a lot.

    I know that im asking a lot, i hope not to bother you.

    1. I feel like either method for making monsters is fine. It’s more about what they do in play than on paper.

      Players’ health not increasing just means that mechanically scary creatures will always be terrifying. No real “balance change” necessary.

      I actually made the change to armor to make things more compatible with the Special Attack Armor, so I’m glad you like that idea. It’s a minor blind spot in the original rules.

  2. I started using your 5.3 hack in my home game, but instead of having the archetypes, players can choose from a list of features the is common for everyone. I also have these features that could be cool for your vagabond:

    -Packrat: You have 4 extra inventory slots
    -Guardian: Once per round, if an anemy leaves your melee range, you can make an attack against them
    -Lethal: When you attack with advangage, you deal +2 damage (to emulate sneak-attack-like abilities)

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