This is what I have so far for my non-infringing adventure with living plush animal friends. I’m making this adventure for Blood of Pangea, which is a low magic, sword & sorcery genre RPG. Characters are defined by their narrative, and their one stat is “Might” which pretty much translates to Hit Points and Luck, which is spent to avoid injuries or boost die rolls.
A rough draft of an adventure for Blood of Pangea
The 41 Hectare Forest
There was to be a celebration of Biron’s birthday, and the party is attacked by Rat Warriors. The Mad Hatter and Biron are captured. Zuff’s tail is stolen. Alice survives only wounded, and is trying to stitch up the wounded friends while Delbert solicits help from the Heroes.
The prisoners were carried off into the Unhappy Forest some three days prior, to the Swamp of Stink. Biron is being held prisoner, forced to animate large dolls shaped like Goblins and Ogres. The Mad Hatter is held prisoner with other tailors and seamstresses and forced to make dolls.
The leader of the Rat Warriors is a Elf Sorcerer with ambition to conquer the 41 Hectare Forest and all the surrounding lands. He intends to curse Zuff’s tail to turn him evil, hoping the evil will create turmoil among all the animals that live in the 41 Hectare Forest.
Cast of Characters
Biron K Frist, Esq. Son of Lord Frist, an English Duke and renown entomologist. He shares his fathers enthusiasm for insects but not for politics, and fled through the Looking Glass to this world, taking only his plush friends. Little did he know that in this world, his imagination can animate dolls. 3 Might. Non-combatant.
Alice, who once fell down a hole to Wonderland, and walked through the Looking Glass to the same universe, decided she too would remain, and met the charming young Biron through the Hatter. 3 Might.
The Mad Hatter. An insane hat maker and friend of Alice. 3 Might
Zuff, the sad yellow dog who lost his tail, 2 might
Lars, the hyper, silly monkey, 3 might
Winkle, the hedgehog scholar, 2 might
Plumpy, the fat pig who loves mushrooms, 2 might
Delbert, the card playing bat, 2 might, can fly, echo-locate
If slain, a bereaved Biron can reanimate a plush friend.
Giant Spiders: 2 might, on a hit save or suffer paralysis / Queen Spider 3 might
Rat Warriors: 1 or 2 Might, fights with spears, nets and crude bows
Rat Leader: 3 Might, armor and shield, will spend Might to score a hit
Swamp Zombies: 1 or 2 Might, On a hit save or get pulled under the water
Goblin Doll: 1 or 2 Might, spear
Ogre Doll: 6 Might, +1 to hit/+1 damage, club, thrown rock, Move 30
Elf Sorcerer: 6 Might, high magic spells that can deal direct damage
Scene 1: The Hatter’s House
In a large forest clearing by the road is the hatter’s house. There are two burned picnic tables, smashed plates, bowls, pots. Food debris strewn about, now covered with visiting flies. The house itself was only lightly scorched with fire, and is otherwise intact.
Plumpy the pig sits in the sunlight, nibbling on a mushroom. The rest are milling about, with crude stitches to their wounds. All living characters are forlorn.
To the south is the 41 Hectare Forest. To the east are the Cheerful Hills. To the north is the Unhappy Forest.
Upon questioning the characters the PCs can learn:
The rats took Biron and the Mad Hatter.
Delbert thinks they were heading for the Stinky Swamp, because there’s a dilapidated fortress on the island there. It’s about a day’s journey.
Alice set off with Winkle after them this morning, not willing to wait for help.
The animals aren’t built for fighting. However, if any are persuaded to come with the PCs, they’ll arm themselves with simple weapons like sticks or a pocket full of rocks (which do a maximum of one damage).
Assuming the party agrees to the mission, proceed to scene 2.
Scene 2: The Unhappy Forest
This forest has an unnatural darkness. The trees all seem to frown. The sunlight is blocked by a dark haze. The air is stale. Shadowy shapes seem to peer at the party from a distance, and then fade away. And there’s a plague of biting mosquitoes. If Delbert is present, he will fly about and eat the mosquitoes.
The trail bends downward into a little valley. There are assorted mushrooms growing here. Plumpy will eagerly go for the mushrooms. This is a trap. Observant characters may notice large bundles hanging from the trees before the Spiders attack. Otherwise Spiders descend on silk from all around them and get the first move. There is one spider per party member, plus the queen. If half of the spiders are slain, the spiders will retreat.
If the PCs cut down the bundles, they will find Alice, drugged and asleep. Winkle, merely bound up and gagged but unharmed by the poison. Some of his fluff spilled out from puncture wounds. There are three other bodies, now just desiccated and corpses and clothes. One is a rat warrior. Searching the bodies will reveal:
-A potion that will heal 1d3+1 might
-A big red balloon and a string, if inflated, this balloon will float as though filled with Helium and can lift one person.
– 20 silver coins
– two random chess pieces that, when invoked, will turn into a human sized version of the real thing. Roll 1d6 for each
1)A pawn will serve as a basic laborer, carries basic camping gear, 1 might
2)A knight will ride on a steed and thump enemies with a great club, 1 might, +1 damage, armor
3)A bishop will cast away the zombies in the Stinky Swamp, 1 might
4)The Rook has a heavy crossbow, +1 to attack and damage. 1 might
5)The queen will nag and belittle the enemy, who must save or be demoralized for a round, 1 might
6)The king will give encouragement, eats sandwiches: +1 to ally attack rolls and ability tests, 1 might
If there are two of any piece, they will be from rival colors and loathe to get along. The chess pieces will interact with each other but will obey the one who invoked them. When slain they return to regular chess piece form, and cannot be summoned for a week.
Scene 3: The Stinky Swamp
A stagnant lake floating with slime, algae, dead logs. The air reeks of decayed vegetation. Some insects buzz about, and there’s even the occasional frog croak. A dilapidated fortress is on the island. The crumbling wall circles the perimeter of the island. A bridge stretches to the west from the island to the mainland. There’s three rowboats docked on the east side. The party can clearly see a tower jutting above the walls. At night there are torches lit around the perimeter, and candle light can be seen in the tower.
The shoreline offers decent cover in the bracken and thorny vegetation. If the PCs make excessive noise, they may attract the attention of the rat warriors on patrol.
Upon arriving at the swamp, the PCs will notice a brigade of what looks like goblins and ogres marches west across the bridge. These are animated dolls, serving the Elf sorcerer.
The party must figure out how to get to the island. From the south shore to the island, the water is only about 12 feet deep. If they swim across, they will be assaulted by Swamp Zombies that grab at them from beneath the water. The party may circle about to use the bridge, or create a boat, or any other solution. There are rat patrols around the perimeter of the island.
Scene 4: The Fortress
Floor 1: A hallway leading to stairs up. In the room is Biron, shackled to a wooden chair. There are candles all about, a spinning kaleidescope lit by candles. Biron is drugged here and in his hallucinated state animates the goblin and ogre dolls. There’s usually one guard. There is a trap door. When not animating, Biron is held in a dank cell below the trap door.
Floor 2: Library and alchemy. There’s an alchemy bench and a pantry of supplies for it. On the bookshelf are assorted tomes of lore, including two books of sorcery.
Potion of Shrinking: Become as small as a mouse for 1 hour.
Cake of Growing: Become as large as an Ogre for 1 hour.
Potion of Animation: For ten minutes, the drinker can cause any doll to become alive, reflecting his or her feelings about the doll. Love makes a doll friendly, fear makes it hostile, and so on.
Smoke Marbles: Six marbles that when struck against a hard surface explode into a billowing cloud of smoke.
Tome of Fire: The sorcerer who uses the magic within can manipulate fire: Intensify, stretch, diminish. For example: cause a candle to burn extra quickly, shoot flames from a torch, explode a lit lantern, etc. The user cannot summon fire, but can manipulate existing fire.
Tome of Biting: This book is a trap! When opened, this book will clamp down on the readers hand with sharp teeth, dealing one point of damaging and rendering the hand useless until freed. If carefully pried open, the victim can free his hand without further harm.
Floor 3: The Elf’s Chamber. A nicely furnished chamber with a bed, desk and armoire. The Elf has Zuff’s tail here on the desk, along with assorted candles and ritual paraphernalia. There is a potion of animation on the desk and a book with a ritual to transfuse Biron’s blood into the caster to gain his power to animate dolls.
There is a bright red carpet spread out by the door. At the Elf’s command, it will pull out from beneath whoever is standing on it.
The Elf can command fire, and will hurl lit candles at the PCs and explode them. He can call a large stuffed raven that will come to his window, allowing him to escape. If reduced to half his Might, the elf will try to escape. If this is a one-shot adventure, he will forget Zuff’s tail. Else he will grab it and try to escape, as a plot hook for later adventures.
An ogre doll is here as bodyguard to the Elf.
The Shed – A large double-doored shed with a padlock. The newly animated goblins and ogres are stored here. The are obedient to the Elf or his Rat Warriors, but otherwise have personalities akin to real goblins and ogres.
The Barn – The Rats make their home here in nests of straw. Anyone searching the nests must save or catch biting fleas that put them at -1 until the fleas are removed. They can swim in the swamp, jump through a smoky fire, sorcery, or any other creative solution. In each of the nine nests are 1d6 silver coins, some bones, bits of bread or cheese, and other refuse of rat creatures. The weapons rack on the wall has three spears and a shield.
The Sewing Shop – Eight seamstresses and tailors are shackled here, forced to sew goblin and ogre dolls. There are great bails of thread, burlap, buttons and polished glass for eyes. The Mad Hatter is here. The slaves are allowed only four to six hours to sleep. There’s a 4 in 6 chance of at least one guard. The slaves have been beaten and poorly fed, and lack the collective will to rebel.
The Blacksmith – A human smith is held here, forced to make weapons and tools. His daughter is one of the seamstresses, and dares not misbehave lest she be slain. If she is freed, he will break his own chain and help the PCs. There are assorted tools and weapons here. Spear, dagger, ax, steel crossbow with 6 bolts, assorted nails, hooks, iron pot, horse shoes.
The Latrine – A house over a pit. It stinks.
This adventure needs more puzzles or traps. I like combat scenes, but there needs to be ways to win without a straight-up fight. Perhaps the heroes can lead the swamp zombies into the town and let the rats fight it out, and they can rescue Biron without risking their own lives.