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The Horned Rat (2022)

This is the collector’s edition of The Horned Rat (2022), the fourth two-volume installment in Cubicle 7’s renovation of the classic Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay campaign, Enemy Within. Unlike the previous three volumes, this adventure is completely new, replacing Something Rotten in Kislev.

Where that adventure was a strange digression (and it is good stuff, it just makes a poor chapter of Enemy Within) Horned Rat attempts, and largely succeeds, in picking up the threads and themes left in the wake of Power Behind the Throne (PBTT) and pulling them taught. It begins a week later, still in Middenheim, rooting out the remnants of the Tzeentch cult, the Purple Hand. It leads to an even deeper conspiracy (ugh, pun-intended, I guess) involving the rat people called Skaven and their subterranean under-empire (and involves tracking Evidence Points to gauge whether NPCs believe this exists). It actually addresses questions left long unanswered from the action of Death on the Reik — what happened to the warpstone at Wittgenstein Castle? Well, the Skaven have fashioned it into…hm. Maybe I shouldn’t spoil it. It is suitably over the top. It is so over the top, actually, that I initially thought it wouldn’t work. But it really does. The whole thing comes together quite nicely — the first half is very much an investigation in the vein of PBTT (tho not nearly so elaborate) and it leads to a second half that is rather refreshingly straight forward. I do think the final chapters risk too much an emphasis on combat and maybe depend on players not being stupid (a dodgy prospect), but as an otherwise massive course correction, I can overlook a couple uneven bits.

The Companion here seems rather optional. There is much information on skaven, some side adventures I would hesitate to include (because the campaign doesn’t need more length) and some potential additional complications (which I would also hesitate to use). The PBTT Companion and Middenheim books do seem necessary, though, oddly enough.

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