And now, because you had to have seen it coming a mile off: The obligatory Puppet Master rip off. Because when you think about Christmas, you think about toys, and when you think about toys in horror, you think, “Puppet Master!”
So, our story starts with infamous German toy maker Gustaph Schwimmer, a man who has absolutely no connection with Andre Toulon. In fact, there has never been anyone with the name Andre Toulon. And if there had been, Gustaph Schwimmer would still be cooler.
So, anyway, Gustaph was also an alchemist and sought to see his toys come to life. Kinda like Geppetto in a twisted and sick sort of way. Throughout the final years of his life (in the 1890s for those who go for those epic games which span the years) he struggled to bring life into his toys. However, before he could baptize his toys in the final ingredient, human blood, he died of apoplexy. No getting killed by Nazis for this toymaker.
Thirty years later, his creations are found and are being offered for sale in a second-hand shop at a discount. Because that’s where all dangerous things can be purchased at cut rate. Just watch Gremlins if you don’t believe me. To an interested collector they would be worth quite a sum, but instead they have fallen into the hands of the ignorant.
Enter Bill Marlowe. Bill was looking for a gift for his son, picked up the entire set of ten dolls. They were quite a steal for the quality of workmanship that went into them. Fully articulated wooden dolls. Ten of them for a dollar. Well that’s something.
Cutting straight to the trite campy horror plot device: little Timmy Marlowe, age 9, opens the present on Christmas day, goes outside to plays with them, gets a cut on his hand but ignores it, and dabs a little bit of blood on all the toys.
The dolls come to life in the middle of the night, and they’ve gone bad. No, these don’t have drill heads or the ability to spit leaches. But they are awfully good at using the tools at hand, and quietly kill the entire Marlowe family in their sleep. Then they move on to the next house.
This happens for a few days. They basically go house by house. Killing people in their sleep. The neighbors add two and two together, get four, and decide, “Hey, we haven’t visited Aunt Mildred in a while…”
So, what prompts the investigators to get involved? Here’s some happy suggestions:
- Their house is next in line!
- They are friends or relatives of one or more of the victims.
- They are part of an elite team of federal agents bent on investigating to supernatural!
If none of these work, maybe you should play a game that requires less player-oriented motivation for stories. (“Hoi, chummers. My name’s Mr. Johnson, and I’ll give you 10,000 nuyen each if you frag the hoopy drek out of Renraku…”)
Damage Bonus: +0
Butcher Knife 25%, damage 1d6
Small Knife 25%, damage 1d4
Armor: 10 point alchemically treated wood. However, despite their resistance to damage, they are very easy to knock around. A hit that does 5 points, before armor reduction, will knock them on their backs. A hit that does 10 or more points in that fashion will send them flying across the room.
Skills: Creep People Out 50%
Sanity Loss: 0/1d2
The toys generally remain hidden during the day, coming out at night when they think people will be sleeping. They move over one house at a time. Investigators could take the tack of stationing one of their team at each house neighboring by a house recently victimized. Which house it enters from night to night is up to the Keeper, whether he chooses to have the toys move about randomly, or have them visit certain houses as befits the story.
Jeremy Zimmerman is a teller of tales who dislikes cute euphemisms for writing like “teller of tales.” His fiction has most recently appeared in 10Flash Quarterly, Arcane and anthologies from Timid Pirate Publishing. His young adult superhero book, Kensei, is available as part of Cobalt City Rookies. He is also the editor for Mad Scientist Journal. He lives in Seattle with five cats and his lovely wife (and fellow author) Dawn Vogel.