Roll20 Review: Cat and Mouse

roll20 review

Welcome to another Roll20 Review, my written and video series in which I review the paid modules available for sale at Roll20. 

Cat and Mouse is the latest conversion and paid module release by tabletop role-playing website Roll20.net. The 1st-level adventure was written and designed by Richard Petit at Kobold Press in 2015 as an introductory adventure to the Southlands, an Egyptian-like part of Kobold Press’ RPG fantasy world, Midgard.

Cat and Mouse, as with most of Kobold Press’ content in the last few years, is built with the Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition ruleset courtesy of the Open Gaming License.

The adventure takes place in the exotic city of Per-Bastet, home to catfolk, ratfolk, and gnolls. The player characters get swept up in a classic McGuffin hunt with competing factions, leading to a multiple choice ending.

The following content is included in the $9.99 module:

  • cat and mouseThe Cat and Mouse adventure, divided into three parts
  • 5 Battle Maps (5-ft grid) with Dynamic Lighting for Subscribers, plus 1 overland map of Per-Bastet
  • 7 Unique NPCs with custom pictures
  • 15 common NPCs
  • 5 pre-generated player character sheets
  • 14 NPC handout pictures
  • 1 unique magic item
  • A fully search able database courtesy of the Standard Rules Document for 5th Edition

Cat and Mouse is a relatively short, simple adventure designed for 4-6 players at level 1. The Roll20 module divides the adventure into three main parts, as well as an introduction to help familiarize the DM with the Southlands, Per-Bastet, and the overall adventure synopsis.

The background and lore is bare minimum, and the module points to the Southlands campaign book for more information. But unless your players go completely off the rails the information on the Perfume District and various notable NPCs should be sufficient.

cat and mousePart One introduces the PCs to the two major players and quest-givers, the shifty catfolk Mistress Henna and gluttonous gnoll Hakaan-al-Khareen.

All the named NPCs are given custom portraits and tokens, and match up well with their written descriptions.

The one battle map included in Part One could be entirely optional depending on how much snooping your PCs want to do when meeting with Hakaan. By showing them the grid map I imagine they’ll definitely want to explore a bit, which I would suggest.

Part Two is the hunt for the wererat Raheed and the item your patrons are seeking – the Grimalkin Eye. Your PCs take to the streets through various social checks to hunt him and the Eye down.

An alleyway handout picture is provided from the original adventure, but otherwise there aren’t any battle maps for this part. The overland map of Pet-Bastet should work fine as none of them should necessarily end in combat, but you may need to prep a battle map just in case.

cat and mouse

One battle encounter and map is provided toward the end of the hunt. It uses a nifty creature from Kobold Press’ Tome of Beasts – the Bastet Temple Cat (CR3!). The PCs have to solve the situation of a crazed cat which is also highly revered, with lots of bystanders nearby. All the tokens on the battle map drive home the unfolding tension of this scene.

The other two battle maps in Part Two are for Festering Heth’s, where the target Raheed as been captured, and Raheed’s Squat.

From reading through the adventure Raheed’s Squat is only used if Heth manages to convince the PCs that Raheed isn’t there, and gives them directions to Raheed’s lair instead. Note that this path makes the adventure much longer and more difficult.

These are very tight, small maps which could be very tricky to navigate for bigger parties. This could be part of the challenge but DM’s should note that particularly squishy or ranged-oriented 1st level characters will find themselves at a major disadvantage in most encounters.

Part Three begins once the PCs have dealt with Raheed and secured the Eye. A single final encounter pits them in a plaza with their two patrons, where they must choose to help one (or none) and a possible battle breaks out – with caged lions nearby acting like an environmental hazard!

cat and mouse

The custom NPC pictures are a big selling point for this adventure, and most matching handouts. Some of the NPC sheets don’t have tokens on their sheet, however, meaning you can’t drag them onto the map like you can the tokens. You can copy/paste them from elsewhere in the adventure if you need them but I don’t foresee having to add many additional tokens to this adventure.

The battle maps are very simplistic and barely any dynamic lighting is used or needed. I wish there would have been a bit more blockage in case you end up battling outside Festering Heth’s for example.

One interesting perk the module provides are pre-made player character sheets. Five are provided: a kobold Rogue, a dwarf cleric, an elfmarked wizard, a human paladin, and a human fighter. Some of them, like the rogue and wizard are given nice little backstories. Some also come with magic items already at level 1, which feels wildly unbalanced (though at least the wizard’s brooch is built into her backstory in a neat way).

The Journal is well-organized and easy to navigate, and the story plays out like a classic Shadowrun mission, putting the PCs in the middle of a shady deal. There are plenty of chances for fun role-playing and social situations. On the flip side if your gaming group is more into hack and slash, Cat and Mouse may not be nearly as satisfying depending on how you adjust it.

cat and mouse

The Pros:

  • Unique custom portraits and tokens for all named NPCs
  • Optional pre-made player character sheets
  • Perfectly converted 5-ft grid maps with tokens and GM layer

The Cons:

  • No additional visual aids or maps for several scenes in the Perfume District
  • Not every NPC sheet has a draggable token or handout

The Errors:

  • None, though I would have preferred additional dynamic lighting on some maps.

The Verdict: As a simple 1st level adventure Cat and Mouse provides a fun introduction to an exotic urban setting. It’s especially well suited to groups that would rather role-play and talk their way out of confrontations.

A review copy of the module was provided.

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Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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