This is a Fantasy-themed adventure that takes cues from Gulliver's
Travels, Thumbelina, Tom Thumb, Toy Story, The Secret of NIMH, Honey I Shrunk
The Kids, the Nursery-cleanup scene in Mary Poppins, and a cartoon about
animated nursery toys who's name I never learned. It starts out looking like
a Mystery-themed adventure, so they shouldn't be able to tell right away what
they're in for.
The adventurers are walking through a park one day. It is December, close
to Christmas. A gentleman in his late thirties is sitting on a bench feeding
the pigeons. He talks to some folks who walk by. It is obvious to the PCs that
he is looking for someone to help him with a somewhat sticky task but he has
no Streetwise skill to speak of. Come up with contrived reasons for the
adventurers to get involved. When they approach him he will introduce himself
as Lord Peter Whimsey Cavanaugh, recently appointed Minister of the Treasury.
When asked why he is feeling so glum he will give them the hook:
"You've got to help me. The other night a stone was thrown through my
window with a message attached. It said: 'We know you've got pots of cash,
you rotter, so give us a thousand pounds or we'll kidnap your son
tonight.' signed: 'The Blackjackers'. You must help protect my son,
Jeremy, he's only a lad of three."
He offers them some money, a nice meal, possibly a good word in for them
in the circles he runs in, in exchange for their help.
(Need to develop a voice and some quirks for LPWC.)
Believe it or not, there acutally isn't a lot of legwork the adventurers
need to do for this adventure. They're welcome to ask around a bit if they
want, but they can probably just go right over to his house. Here's some
possible legwork they might do, if they're interested:
- A police or underground contact could tell them some info about the
Blackjackers. Mostly a gang of 2-bit hoods that seem to have a pretty
extensive power structure, ascending up through some of the higher echelons
of the underworld. It is rumored that they might even be in league with some
ostensibly high-class folks: doing dirty-work for corrupt ministers of
Parliment, etc. The PCs will probably get really anxious to find out more
about the Blackjackers, but you can curtail their investigations by telling
them that they've got to get to Peter Cavanaugh's house by nightfall.
- A government / newspaper / upper-class contact can tell them that Peter
Cavanaugh is a perfectly honourable man. If the players are starting to think
that this is a double-cross, every person they talk to should be able to
vouch for the character of Lord Cavanaugh. Note to the GM: There is no
- If the PCs have the presence of mind to go to an Occult contact, said
contact will produce an old, dusty map and inform them that the land where
Lord Peter Cavanaugh's house is built is the site of an old, strange,
mystical legend. The deeper story here is that the plot of land is the site
of a former fairie ring / druid circle and is an isolated high-mana spot of
Lord Peter Whimsey Cavanaugh's Home
Posh, upper-class, 2-story abode on the good side of town.
- Ground Floor - has all the day-to-day stuff: front room, dining room,
kitchen, bathroom, washroom, study
- 2nd Floor - mostly bedrooms: master bedroom, nursery, servants
bedrooms, guest bedroom, small washroom (no lavvy)
- There's also a basement and an attic, with appropriate junk inside.
PCs can sleep wherever they want. They'll probably pick the nursery
itself, the front room by the front door,
Sooner or later night will come. Everyone else in the house will go to
sleep after expressing how safe and secure they all feel now that a night
watch patrol is here. If the players had any presence of mind they will have
gotten some sleep. If they didn't, so much the better because you can use it
as another hook. What's going to happen to all the PCs eventually is that they
will get shrunk down to the size of a mouse. It's better if they get shrunk
and find themselves inside the dollhouse in the nursery, but not mandatory.
The reason why the dollhouse is best is because it will seem at first that
they are still in the nursery and won't notice that anything is wrong... until
they see that the room they're sitting in only has three walls. To their good
fortune, all their clothes and equipment they are carrying will get shrunk
down as well.
Here are some ways to shrink the PCs:
- They fall asleep (following a failed Will roll or two) and wake up
- They eat or drink something (a la Alice)
- They read a spell (an innocuous looking poem or scrap of paper)
- They open the door to a room to walk in and the furniture is enormous.
Even when they leave the room, furniture is still enormous; they're shrunk.
Probably work best if they go into the cellar or attic
- It just happens
There really isn't any way to prevent getting shrunk. Roll with it.
There are plenty of calls for fright checks while small. The first one
should happen when they shrink. Seeing a big animal (like the cat) or animated
toy might incurr a fright check. Any number of mishaps caused by the spellbook
could incurr fright checks.
(Need to figure out what effective stats are. ST/HT are probably in the
1-3 range. Also need to figure out what damage guns/weapons would do against
The following is a list of things that the PCs could encounter. Most of
these would occur in the nursery, but they could run into this sort of thing
anywhere in the house. In addition to the following list, anything that would
normally be found in a given room (like knives in the kitchen or pens in the
study) will be available to them, they'll just be really big. (Getting down
the stairs will be quite a chore.) Again, the cellar or the attic could be
fertile ground for oddments of any stripe or flavour. (This is the place where
- A cuckoo clock. Makes for a good vantage point. This could even be a
place where they wake up and figure out that they're shrunk. (Fright check
from the cuckoo, climbing roll to get down.)
- They can find a spellbook any number of places (the study, the attic,
the dollhouse, the coffe table - you name it). Pretty much any spell they
read out of it will be possible even if they don't have Magery at any level
(given that this is a high-mana zone). The roll for casting any spell is
IQ-1d6. If the character is semi-literate, an additional roll is called for
to see if they can even read anything. If the character is illiterate,
there's no chance of them reading a spell. Even when cast successfully, the
spell might have some unexpected side-effects. Failures will be spectacular,
and sometimes a failure might be just as useful as a success...
- There is a Christmas tree that is heavily ornamented and present-laden,
a veritable gold-mine of goodies that the PCs could dig into.
- The little boy probably has a paper airplane. That sounds like fun.
- Some fairie folk could be encountered who still dwell here:
- Pixies, who can fly and maybe get the other characters to fly with a
little sprinkle of Pixie dust.
- Brownies, who are raucus and just want to find some food or beer. A
successful reaction / carousing roll will earn the PCs some drinking
buddies for the night.
- Goblinettes, who are dirty and mangy and spoiling for a fight.
They'll probably live someplace seedy like the cellar.
- Some Christmas Elves, who are busy decorating the tree, stuffing
stockings, or some such.
- There are numerous toys around the house, especially around the nursery.
Some of them are wind-up / clockwork / spring-powered toys. Some clever,
impromptu Mechanic (Clockwork) skill roll(s) could turn one of them into a
working vehicle or mini-mecha that they could operate with an appropriate
- Some little dolls who are having a tea party and think the PCs are
*their* dolls. Play these girls obnoxiously.
- Toy soldiers who will react well to a show of leadership / bravery
and vow to "join forces" with them. A failed leadership / bard / whatever
roll or poor introduction will lead the soldiers to believe that these are
"ruffians" who need to be dealt with harshly.
- A pile of blocks that could be used for cover / shelter
- Rubber balls, jacks
- Jack in the box who is annoying in that he incurs fright checks
- Duck that walks around, pilotable w Battlesuit skill
- Train that rolls around, could be clockwork and pilotable
- Clockwork nutcraker figurine
- A Chessboard
- Any of the following animals / insects, who will react neutrally until
the PCs do something to scare it or befriend it. If the animals are small
enough, they can ride it at Riding-2 if they get a good Animal Empathy roll
(also at -2).
- Some mice, which are about their size. They should probably encounter
this one first-ish to get an idea of how small they are.
- A rat, should be treated as hostile
- Some crickets, non-tame, rideable
- A butterfly in a terrarium in the nursery. You bet it's rideable.
- The housecat, and he's hungry. Whoa nelly, is he ever big. Probably
found in the kitchen, if anywhere.
- Any of the following people who will simply not see them unless they do
something really extravagant to announce themselves. These folks are probably
getting up to get a drink, get a bite to eat, or go to the lavvy. If they
notice the shrunken PCs, it will surely incur a fright check and possibly
fainting (to conveniently get them out of the picture so the PCs can go about
- A servant of some sort: the maid, the nanny, the cook, etc.
- Lord Peter Cavenaugh
- His Wife
- The boy, Jeremy, who will be completely non-plussed (Unfazable) about
the idea of seeing little people / animated toys / fairie folk running
about his room. Apparently, this sort of thing happens pretty regularly
for him. Nobody believes him when he tells them.
- Lastly, two of the Blackjackers will break in. The shrunken
adventurers will hear them at the door. They will be recognizable by their
black attire and they'll be wearing a playing card on their person
somewhere, usually on their hats or coats. One is tall and lanky named
"Bill" and the other is short and squat named "Sam".
The main objective for the PCs is to find some way to defeat the
kidnappers, while they are shrunk. This should have a bit of a "Home Alone"
feel to it. Depending on time constraints, you could spend as much or as
little time letting them muck about with the toys / animals until they get a
plan worked out. The sillier the better.
After they accomplish this, they will get un-shrunk. It may occur the next
morning, or immediately afterward, just play it by ear. Any contrived means
can be used to embiggen them, including a reversal / repeat of any of the
aforementioned hooks, or just a "POOF You're big!" kind of approach.
It is possible that the PCs won't be able to stop the Blackjackers before
they get out of the house. They'll get a second-chance here: If they go
outside the house, they'll become big again (either gradually or
all-of-a-sudden, it's up to you), and they can have a dramatic chase scene
through the snowy streets of London where they try to nab the baddies.
Lord Peter Cavenaugh will be delighted that the heroes have routed the
Blackjackers and shower them with praise, money, food, etc. If the PCs try to
tell him about fairie folk or getting shrunk, he will be instantly dismissive
"Jeremy's been telling you about his fantasy stories, has he?". No matter how
hard the PCs press their tale, the worst he will react is as though they have
some kind of Delusion (-5), and immediately offer them some more food / drink.
If they really want to go above and beyond the call of duty, they could do
some legwork and figure out that an ambitious accountant, who was jealous that
he was passed up for the job of Minister of the Treasury, hired the
Blackjackers to perform this devilish job. Don't let the PCs crack too much of
the Blackjackers Ring, because they're good stock villains and we want to keep
them around for awhile.
Possible rewards include:
- Character points, as usual.
- Some cash from Lord Peter Whimsey Cavenaugh (say, a hundred quid each)
- Possibly a good reputation amongst public servants. 2 of their awarded
character points could be spent to buy this reputation. (Or the chance to buy
off an appropriate bad reputation.) This could be dependant on getting a very
*good* reputation from Lord Cavenaugh in the first place. If the PCs fail
miserably in their mission, they might get a *bad* reputation!
- The PCs could possibly gain Lord Peter Whimsey Cavenaugh as a 2 point
contact. Again, this might be paid for out of their awarded character points
and possibly dependant on how he reacted to the PCs or how good a job they
- Not much by way of equipment, as the stuff they will use will probably
all be little again.
- The miniature spellbook could be quietly pocketed. A bit difficult to
read, though, even with a magnifying glass, but hey, you never know. An
occult contact might be interested in buying it.
- For critical successes at opportune moments, or special help from
contacts (or both) you might allow them to learn a spell from the spellbook,
aquire a Fairie contact / reputation, the 'Hidden Lore City' skill, or maybe
gain the 'Fairie Empathy' advantage. These are rare treats though, so don't
give them out too freely (if at all).
Here's some notes from when we did this adventure.
- Jared's character, Sarah Jane Fairfax, quickly located the spellbook
in the atic. The first spell she read shrunk her. She was then able to use
her 'Speed Reading' skill to find useful spells.
- Blake's character, "Biter", got bit by the cuckoo who pulled him into
his clock; Blake shrank as he was pulled in. He made friends with the
cuckoo (who I named "Clancy") and rode him like the mice rode the
Albatross in The Rescuers. The cuckoo played a pretty big part in
- Ryan got a critical success when carousing with some hobgobblins and
brownies so I allowed him to buy the "Fairie Empathy" advantage at a
reduced cost. He also had a fun contest with the Chess pieces (who became
animated) which started with him winning a game of Chess and ended with an
All-Star Wrestling match between him, the Bishops, and the Knights.
- Jared was able to use Sarah Jane's 'Mechanic / Clockwork / TL5' skill
and her 'Weird Science' skill to create a mini-mecha out of a wind-up
duck. I gave her 1/2 a point to spend on the 'Battlesuit' skill so she
could walk around and attack people with it.
- The way they dispatched the Blackjackers was a lot of fun. Blake told
Jeremy that they were going to play hide-and-seek, effectively removing
Jeremy from immediate danger. Blake then mis-cast a spell that brought the
Christmas tree to life, which started wandering around downstairs and
eventually wound up snacking in the pantry. He then mis-cast the "Tree
Control / Calm Monstorous Tree" spell, making the tree very angry. Ryan
loaded up a toy train with some jacks which he then piloted to the top of
the stairs and spilled. The Blackjackers tripped on them, fell down the
stairs, and failed an enormous fright check when they saw the animated
Christmas tree. Jared, meanwhile, used his Rapier Wit to heighten their
fear, which caused one to faint and the other to run around screaming.
Jared then successfully cast the 'Mass Daze' spell, which caused the
waking-up family to go back to their beds, and stunned the Blackjackers,
who were then eaten by the tree. It's appetite sated, the tree resumed its
place by the window.
- Before all that happened, Ryan said "So now we're doing 'Home
Alone'?" Cricical success, Ryan.