Horns & Rats

This is the page for Horns & Rats, a quick hack of the one-page RPG Lasers & Feelings by John Harper, adapted for use in oneshot games of Skaven schemes and treachery in the Warhammerâ„¢ universe.

YOU ARE DENIZENS OF THE SKAVEN WARREN RATTY LIAR. The warren's chieftain has put forth a summons for his strongest, cleverest and quickest underlings. Following a furious chain of delegation, sidestepping and inveiglement, the title has been passed to you, along with the task of investigating rumors of a threat to the warren. You are hastily outfitted and kicked out to follow the trail. As you begin to uncover more of the threat's true nature, it quickly becomes clear that the task may have been slightly undersold by the chieftain.

Players: Chargen

1) Choose a background for your character:
- Apprentice Grey Seer
- Black Skaven
- Clanrat
- Engineer
- Night Runner
- Packmaster
- Plague Monk

2) You're superior to your brethren in every way, but you're particularly good at:
- Fighting
- Hiding
- Lying
- Magic
- Scheming
- Science
- Sniffing

3) Choose your number, from 2 to 5. A high number means you're better at HORNS (intimidation; facing danger; measured, forceful action). A low number means you're better at RATS (flattery; avoiding danger; wild, instinctive action).

4) Give your character a fierce rat name that inspires awe in your fellow Skaven. Like Shankrat Killgood.

You have: Murderous claws, beady eyes, overinflated ego.

Your goals: Scheme, backstab and overreach wherever you can to gain the fleeting favor of the Horned Rat. Face the consequences of your evolutionary hubris, and make the best of it regardless.

Players: Warrengen

As a group, pick two strengths for the Ratty Liar warren and its surrounding territories:
- Diplomatic Relations
- Itching for War
- Labyrinthine Tunnels
- Organized Militia
- Rat Ogre
- Scratch Spaces
- Unlikely Allies
- Warprail/River Access
Also, pick one weakness:
- Grim Reputation
- Insect Menace
- Unstable Tunnels
- Warpstone Addiction


When you do something risky, roll 1d6 to find out how it goes. Roll +1d if you're engaging an opportunity or weakness and +1d if you're an expert. (The GM has the final call on how many dice you roll, based on your character, the situation and relevant Aspects.) Roll your dice and compare each die result to your number.
- If you're using HORNS (fighting, proactive measures), you want to roll under your number.
- If you're using RATS (scheming, reactive panicking), you want to roll over your number.
0: If none of your dice succeed, it goes wrong. The GM says how things get worse somehow.
1: If one die succeeds, you barely manage it. The GM inflicts a complication, harm or cost.
2: If two dice succeed, you do it well. Good job!
3: If three dice succeed, you get a critical success! The GM grants you an extra boon.
!: If you roll your number exactly, you feel the attention of the HORNED RAT upon you. You can either:
- Describe a new positive or negative Aspect related to an adversary, the environment or the story.
- Ask the GM a question and get an honest answer. Some good questions: "Who here will betray me first? What's the best way to ? What's really going on here? How could I get them to ?"
After choosing, you can change your action if you want to, and then roll again.

If you currently hold Favor, you may introduce an Aspect or ask a question whenever ANYONE rolls their number, not just when you do. Which brings us neatly to our next paragraph:

Favor of the Horned Rat

At the start of each conflict scene, whoever holds the Favor of the Horned Rat must define the Goal for the scene. If no one holds Favor, decide on the Goal together. The Goals should be achievable within the current scene, and may be tailored to be more favorable to specific characters. Defining the Goal as "Defeat the Guard Captain in single combat", "Slip past the horde of skeletons unnoticed" or "Convince the warren to march against the invaders" will favor very different skillsets and also determine whose back has the biggest target painted on it.

Whoever completes the goal receives the Favor of the Horned Rat. While you hold Favor, you may introduce an Aspect or ask a question whenever anyone rolls their number, not just when you do. The Horned Rat may also be moved to bestow Favor after an impressive act of betrayal or sufficient sacrifice.

INTERFERING: If you spend time overtly interfering with another character's actions, to a minimum of 1d6. A more subtle alternative to this is introducing negative Aspects that hinder the others' actions and plans, but not yours.
COMPETING: If two characters are competing to do the same thing, and one isn't in a clearly better position than the other, they may try to establish superiority by rolling opposed d6, with possible additional dice from relevant Aspects.
HELPING: Add a die by helping, gain control over consequences?

GM: Plotgen

1. Elite caste 4. Band of heroes 1. Man-things 4. Elf-things
2. Marching army 5. Cunning lord-thing 2. Beard-things 5. Dead-thing
3. Rival clan 6. Internal revolt 3. Lizard-things 6. Green-things
1. Kill-Kill 4. Protect-Keep
2. Sneak-Steal 5. Build-Make
3. Bond-Link with 6. Invade-Grab
1. Divine 4. Coveted
2. Arcane 5. Corrupted
3. Eldritch 6. Benevolent
1. Heir 4. Colossus
2. Vault 5. Ruins
3. Underway 6. Artifact
1. Destroy Skavenblight 4. Start the End Times
2. Disrupt the Council 5. Unleash raw magic
3. Enslave all Skaven 6. Fix-Fix Everything

GM: Running the game

Play to find out how the characters defeat the threat and somehow make things even worse. Introduce the threat by showing evidence of its recent badness. Before a threat does something to the characters, show them the barrel of the gun, then ask them what they do. "The von Carsteins cackle in unison as the chalice begins to overflow with dark magic. What do you do?" "Splik pushes the mug of foul, almost certainly poisoned ale towards you. What do you do?"

Call for a roll when the situation is uncertain. Don't pre-plan outcomes — let the chips fall where they may. Use failures to push the action forward. The situation always changes after a roll, for good or ill.

Ask questions and build on the answers. "Have any of you encountered a Slayer before? Where? What happened?"

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