Cat & Mouse (PFRPG)

***** (based on 2 ratings)
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Who Do You Trust?

In the cool streets and blazing bazaars, the word is out: a great treasure has gone missing in the Everlasting City of the Cat, and some very ambitious people have set their sights on it. Many paws and claws are out, and everyone is sniffing around for something rich and strange.

It’s an odd time for a catfolk thief and a gnoll merchant to make very tempting offers to strangers in town. Or, perhaps it’s not odd at all. Get caught up in the hunt with "Cat and Mouse" by Richard Pett, the acclaimed Paizo adventure path author!

This Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure for 1st-level characters is a perfect introduction to the Southlands campaign setting, and it fits neatly into any desert city where cats are sacred and rats are cautious and sly.

With detailed maps and conniving rivals, "Cat & Mouse" builds quickly to a deadly showdown!

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***** (based on 2 ratings)

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

*****

This introductory module to the evocative Southlands setting in Midgard clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 21 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

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..

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All right, still here? Per-Bastet is the glittering crown-jewel of the nation of Nuria-Natal; it is also one of the most evocative, awesome cities I have read within the last couple of years. Through its heart, there runs the eternal River of Sand, guarded by jealous elemental creatures, churning tons of sand in a truly amazing display through the streets of the metropolis. Sometimes, objects of strange origin wash "ashore", the sand-touched items, often considered to be lucky.

Today, though, a treasure beyond ken has arrived at the shores of the holy city of cats, the minor artifact Grimalkin Eye - which can be used to befriend, fascinate or dominate any feline. Catfolk mistress henna Mjelidi, not a scrupulous being, would give her whiskers for the eye, but, alas, when she learned about it, the item had already found its way into another unlikely creature's clutches - Raheed, a particularly ugly and unpleasant wererat has claimed the eye...and since found out that it grants him power. Worse, the gnoll slaver Hakaan-al-Khareen Zmirr Nill Mo Chantoor has learned about Mjelidi's quest...and now wants the eye as well...if only to annoy the catfolk. It is him who offers a counteroffer after the PCs have accepted the job of securing the eye for Mjelidi.

Situated in Per-Bastet's Perfume district for the most part, the module comes with sufficient basic information (though I'd still strongly suggest getting the amazing Southlands book)...and the module has another interesting angle: It proposes gossip checks, which basically approaches gathering of information as something that can be accomplished via diverse skills. In fact, the module is pretty...different...from what you'd expect. You see, the counter-offer I mentioned? It may actually be offered peacefully in the fully-mapped house of Hakaan...or, well, the PCs may pretty much murder-hobo everyone: Mjelidi and Hakaan get full stats, the house has traps and servants (and some nice indirect storytelling...seems like Hakaan's been recently left by his lover...) - this diversity of angles is something I most certainly appreciate.

Anyways, as mentioned before, the trail of Raheed will lead the PCs towards the Perfume district, where a fun investigation through Raheed's less than glamorous life begins: The trail leads from money-lenders to blind beggars and washing women with truly sharp, lashing tongues that may damage the PC's reputation, the impression the PCs will get is most certainly not one of a glamorous existence. At any time during this section, the PCs may witness the Grimalkin Eye's influence with one of the powerful temple cats going berserk...though, again, the PCs have a way to defuse the situation in a smart and non-violent manner! Ultimately, the trail leads to Festering Heth's...where a local alchemist may confirm having just sold a cheetah to said being. Heth has since captured Raheed and tries to bluff the PCs...but whether they fall for it or not, once again, no violence is actually required. Heth is a coward and if the PCs fall for him, Raheed will escape...which means that the PCs may have to deal with him in his pitiful squatchamber...in the end, both Mejildi and Hakaan will try to get the eye...and both can't pay what they promised...which would mean violence in the square of the lion, named for the caged animal conveniently here...And yes, if the PCs can play their cards right, they may well double-cross the double-crossers...and get past the final showdown without shedding a single drop of blood. Which is awesome.

One the downside, the module probably leaves the PCs with the powerful Grimalkin Eye, which, while not utterly OP, can enable rather powerful tricks: 1/day dominate animal, 3/day animal messenger, animal trance, calm animal...but on a failure to attune to the item, it may confuse all the cats near the user. This will not break any game, but provide, particularly in the feline-centric Per-Bastet some cool heist options/political angles...so, surprisingly, I'm pretty cool with this! A GM who knows how to run with this will have a blast. The other complaint I can field here would pertain the lack of player-friendly, keyless maps: The book has a ton of nice, full-color maps for the tactical encounters, but lacks a map-appendix or the like of key-less versions to hand out to players, limiting the module in the handout-department unnecessarily.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Kobold press' two-column full-color standard and is gorgeous. The original artwork contained herein is amazing, and the full-color cartography is similarly neat...though the lack of player-friendly versions is a pretty big downside for me. Unfortunately, I do not own the print version, so I can't comment on the qualities of that one.

Richard Pett is mostly known for horror and macabre modules, but he obviously is no one-trick-pony. Cat & Mouse is an evocative module that makes good use of the amazing Southlands-setting. Furthermore, it can actually easily be run as a module for kids: The options to refrain from killing or shedding any blood while completing this module allows you to play true GOOD heroes...or, as always, you can murder-hobo through it...but why would you, when RPing would be so much more rewarding? And yes, if you're running this for adults, you can easily emphasize the grime and grit, if that's the tone you're going for.

Anyways, usually the lack of player-friendly maps would cost this my seal of approval, but the diversity of challenges, colorful characters, attention to detail and the option to run this sans violence are simply too compelling to ignore. My final verdict will hence be a well-deserved 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.


*****

This was one of the most enjoyable 1st level adventures I've run, and a perfect introduction to the Southlands setting for my players. It brings the city of Per-Bastet to life (not that it isn't already with all the detail in the setting).

Plenty of non-combat optikms throughout as well which is always appreciated.

I'm not sure why the merchant's home was so thoroughly detailed though, I couldn't see why combat with him would ever be needed or what reason the PCs would have to explore the home.

Still, a fantastic adventure and well worth buying. The art is also gorgeous.


Community Manager

Now available!


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber

That title!

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Very pleased to have this introductory adventure available for the Southlands!

Mr. Pett does deliver the goods.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Superscriber

Just sat and read it and am sending out the emails to organize a game.

Paizo Employee Assistant Developer

Mine all mine...don't touch wrote:
Just sat and read it and am sending out the emails to organize a game.

Really glad you're enjoying this one! It was certainly a blast to work on, and it's both a fantastic introduction to Per-Bastet and the Southlands and great fun for those already familiar with the setting.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

You has me at "catfolk thief and gnoll merchant". Also Pett. (Mroooar?)

Contributor

Hello chums!

This one was doubly awesome for me; I hope you'll find it a great fun adventure with plenty of role-play and lots and lots of chances for mishaps, and it was really great to be asked to write the intro adventure for such a cool setting for my lovely friend Mr Baur.

Please do keep us posted on how it runs; it should be one of those adventures with plenty of scope for different takes on different runs.

I have a deep love for the two main 'protagonists', I think they need a sequel some time...

Mroooar!
Rich


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'm so excited about this one. The Southlands setting is one of the most interesting setting I've ever seen realized for an RPG in 25+ years of gaming. Seeing that the Southlands will be a well-supported part of Midgard is fantastic news. Gotta stop posting now--need to DL this!

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

A sequel would be welcome, Mr. Pett. We should discuss this matter via messages delivered in the dead of night by eldritch minions.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Gladior wrote:
The Southlands setting is the most interesting setting I've ever seen realized for an RPG in 25+ years of gaming.

I think I'd like to see that on a tee shirt! :)

... or, at least as part of a Southlands review ... <hint :)>


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Review coming in good time--there's a lot of material to go over!

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Wolfgang Baur wrote:
A sequel would be welcome, Mr. Pett. We should discuss this matter via messages delivered in the dead of night by eldritch minions.

I trust my crooked minion has reached you now, having flown across the Atlantic with felicitations my dear chap:)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Thanael wrote:
You has me at "catfolk thief and gnoll merchant". Also Pett. (Mroooar?)

Why do I keep hearing Rita and Runt?

The Exchange

How many PCs is this optimized for? (I may have a small party of new players, and don't want to have to pad it too much with NPCs. )

What's the balance between RP and combat?

Thanks for any opinions; this adventure sounds really fascinating!

Contributor

Sorry Thomas, when the cat's away...

Spoiler:
It's actually feasible to go through the whole adventure without combat and just role play it through - turning NPC against NPC - it's also entirely feasible for your players to adopt a slaughter-without-dialogue approach and soak the streets bloody with combat. In all likelihood it'll fall somewhere between the two stools.

As for players, I almost always aim it at 4 these days, but there is plenty of chance to use just a couple of PCs if they're careful, in fact it might give the whole thing an extra edge with a couple of PCs.

Please do let us know how it runs, and reviews are always, always welcome too:)

Rich

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Just noticed this adventure's existence (what is it with me stumbling upon amazing Southlands products instead of being directed to them by all the people who already know how amazing they are?).

I'll be running this adventure for my group, whose characters are primarily drawn from my Akashic Mysteries classes with a splash of Spheres of Power.

It's been a real thrill for me the last year or so, to have all the mechanics, settings, and ideas to run some truly great adventures with that awesome Arabian Nights flavor that is one of my favorite cornerstones of the fantasy genre. I'll be posting a detailed review as soon as we finish the adventure!

Liberty's Edge

Awesome!!!

Hey, so you don't have to stumble on it later, did you know there is a sequel to Cat and Mouse in the works as we speak!

Stay tuned!

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Hey Ssalarn, thank you for that, and would love to see your review!


Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, amazon, etc.

The Exchange Kobold Press

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Belated thank-you for that review, EZG!

Also, this title is now 40% off. Yes, a Richard Pett adventure with 5 stars from EZG, on sale. I can't believe it either. :)


I'm totally in love with this thing and the sequel. Richard Pett is my favorite adventure writer I think. Will definitely buy the Southlands setting now (unless updated one coming soon?).

I will write a review after I finish running it.

Anyway, does any one know where to get the player friendly maps?

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