The Wererat Den is a short adventure for 5th level adventurers by James Introcaso, and is available for free on his website. It involves a group of militant lycanthropes who want to infect the world with lycanthropy, and have started their campaign at a forest inn. The characters may enter the action due to investigating previous activities of the villains, or through just happening to arrive at the Inn after the trouble starts.
There is an odd tension in D&D maps between the realistic size of the maps and the size needed for entertaining play. The size of the inn in this adventure? 160 feet by 160 feet in a single room. It’s HUGE!!! The upper level has beds for about 80 patrons, and they’re in nicely sized rooms: 25 ft. x 35 ft. holds three beds.
The adventure consists of some world information, including a nice random encounter table to use on the wilderness travel to the inn. The table has a small number of unique, themed encounters in addition to the more generic items on the list, and these are pretty nice.
The actual adventure itself has a couple of issues; primarily in its set-up. You have this militant lycanthrope group uncertain whether it wants to infect a bunch of teenagers with lycanthropy or use them as a bargaining chip to blackmail their parents into becoming lycanthropes. For me, I can’t see that it’s an issue: infect the children, they’ll eventually grow up and take over from their parents, and the world will be a lycanthrope paradise! However, werewolves and wererats have never been known for their clear thinking, so perhaps this indecision works in the context of the adventure.
The chief problem the adventure has is in its structure: It’s very much written as a location-based scenario, with each location providing a combat. Really, there’s a lot of potential for negotiation and deceit – good role-playing material – here, which, although it could be added by a DM, should really be handled more by the adventure. The ideas behind the adventure are really good, but the execution isn’t ambitious enough. The actual encounters are pretty good and likely to be entertaining, but I see more potential for the scenario than comes out in the writing.
There are good tricks and traps, and a few new magic items. You’re probably going to find lots of useful material in this short adventure; I just wish it was more than it was!