High-Class Nannies

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.)

Possible Legwork

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:

Lord Peter Whimsey Cavanaugh's Home

Posh, upper-class, 2-story abode on the good side of town.

PCs can sleep wherever they want. They'll probably pick the nursery itself, the front room by the front door,

Night Falls

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:

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 normal-sized people/animals.)

Little Encounters

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 fairies dwell...)

  1. 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.)
  2. 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...
  3. There is a Christmas tree that is heavily ornamented and present-laden, a veritable gold-mine of goodies that the PCs could dig into.
  4. The little boy probably has a paper airplane. That sounds like fun.
  5. Some fairie folk could be encountered who still dwell here:
    1. Pixies, who can fly and maybe get the other characters to fly with a little sprinkle of Pixie dust.
    2. 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.
    3. Goblinettes, who are dirty and mangy and spoiling for a fight. They'll probably live someplace seedy like the cellar.
    4. Some Christmas Elves, who are busy decorating the tree, stuffing stockings, or some such.
  6. 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 Piloting skill.
    1. Some little dolls who are having a tea party and think the PCs are *their* dolls. Play these girls obnoxiously.
    2. 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.
    3. A pile of blocks that could be used for cover / shelter
    4. Rubber balls, jacks
    5. Jack in the box who is annoying in that he incurs fright checks
    6. Duck that walks around, pilotable w Battlesuit skill
    7. Train that rolls around, could be clockwork and pilotable
    8. Clockwork nutcraker figurine
    9. A Chessboard
  7. 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).
    1. Some mice, which are about their size. They should probably encounter this one first-ish to get an idea of how small they are.
    2. A rat, should be treated as hostile
    3. Some crickets, non-tame, rideable
    4. A butterfly in a terrarium in the nursery. You bet it's rideable.
    5. The housecat, and he's hungry. Whoa nelly, is he ever big. Probably found in the kitchen, if anywhere.
  8. 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 their business).
    1. A servant of some sort: the maid, the nanny, the cook, etc.
    2. Lord Peter Cavenaugh
    3. His Wife
    4. 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.
    5. 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:

Postmortem Notes

Here's some notes from when we did this adventure.