Forgotten Futures VIII
...And Frolics
Adventures In Victorian and Edwardian Children's Fantasy

by Marcus L. Rowland
Copyright © 2002, portions Copyright © 1993-2001

This material is published as shareware; if you find it useful you are asked to register; see the copyright page for information on why this is a good idea.

Ghost Story

GHOST Story is an adventure for a small group of children, aged from seven to twelve, who should be pupils at a boarding school on the Cornish coast, described in more detail below. They need have no spells or magical equipment, and any equipment that they own will probably be useless in this adventure. Animal adventurers are not recommended. Although no dates are mentioned, the adventure works best if it is set in the early twentieth century, with flashbacks to the 1850s or 1860s.

The setting is Aubrey House School, a country house on the Cornish coast which has been converted into a preparatory school. It's about two miles from the nearest village and ten from the nearest town. It is unusual in accepting girls as well as boys. Needless to say the dormitaries are separated, the girls in Baxter Wing are well apart from the boys in Pellew Wing. The summer term is three or four weeks old; the weather is warm and pleasant, and will remain so for the duration. A simple plan of the school is provided, but isn't essential for running the adventure.

If the children are already pupils of other schools (such as public schools) they are temporary pupils here; their school has been closed following a typhoid epidemic, and won't re-open until new drains have been dug and the building is thoroughly fumigated. Alternatively change the setting to the childrens' school, if that will be more convenient; provided that it is possible that the school was once a family home it can be used in place of Aubrey House.

Many of the events and characters in this adventure were first described from different viewpoints in The Wages of Sin (Forgotten Futures VI), which is included on the FF CD-ROM or can be read on-line. You are strongly advised to read that adventure to get more of a feel for the situation. If possible, run it and use the events as played in your game to determine the original events of this scenario, ignoring the details given in a later section. Some minor aspects of the plot have been changed or omitted, and one additional complication was added. See the article Accidents Of Birth, which was originally published in Steve Jackson Games' Pyramid on-line magazine and can also be found on the FF CD-ROM. To make the ancestry of this adventure even more complicated, it was originally based on A Nice Night For Screaming, an adventure for Call of Cthulhu and other systems that appeared in TSR UK's Imagine Magazine issue #28, 1985. A sequel, Honeymoon In Hell, was in Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu collection Blood Brothers.

Numerous stories deal with the interaction between the real world and the world of dreams, and with physical and mental time travel. Influences on this adventure include the novel Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett, several issues of the comics Sandman by Neil Gaiman and Promethea by Alan Moore, the films The Amazing Mr. Blunden and the Back To The Future sequence, Kipling's story They and the Stalky stories, Leslie Charteris' Dawn, and various episodes of Angel, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Star Trek (all series) and Farscape.

Many thanks to Maureen Kincaid-Speller for again allowing me to take her name in vain. The cheque's in the post...

To contents
Players' Information

TONIGHT'S the night for the big midnight feast in Pellew Wing; officially the teachers pretend that they don't know it's happening, but everyone else is going to be there, even some of the girls are planning to sneak from their dormitories in Baxter Wing to join the fun for a couple of hours.

By the time the party begins everyone's excited, and there are lots of giggles as you tuck into the plates of bloater-paste sandwiches, scones with strawberry jam and cream, lemonade, and lashings of ginger beer.

Things are getting a little noisy, and you're beginning to wonder if the teachers will start to pay attention, when you notice something unusual. There's a little boy, much too young to attend the school, sitting next to one of the bigger girls. Nobody else seems to notice him, and as you look you realise that he doesn't seem quite right somehow. He's wearing an old-fashioned sailor suit, not pyjamas or a night-dress, and there's a small poodle sitting in his lap. And he's semi-transparent...

If none of the children say anything he vanishes after a few minutes, reappearing in the dreams of the adventurers a night or two later. If anyone makes a scene it should quickly become apparent that none of the NPC children can see or feel the child, and assume that it's some sort of joke; it happens that all of the other children present have MAGIC [0] and Wizardry [0], and none have the Medium skill. If anyone tries to contact him via the Medium skill or any sort of spell they will hear the voice of a little boy saying "Where am I? Who are you? I want Mummy and Daddy and Auntie Avril!" He vanishes, but will return in dreams as above.

To contents
Referee's Information

PREVIOUSLY in Forgotten Futures VI: Fifty years ago Captain Roderic Pellew DSO attempted to murder Tim, a foundling adopted by his parents, Professor John Pellew and his wife Norma. He had already succeeded in murdering his real brothers and sister when he was twelve, but this time his machinations were foiled by a combination of incredibly bad luck, the fortuitous presence of a plain-clothes detective, Thomas Fox, who was later discovered to be the Pellew's true son, and some supernatural intervention by the ghosts of Alan, Gwen, and David Pellew.

Now: Eventually Tim inherited Aubrey House and a considerable fortune from his adoptive parents; already a gifted teacher, he used the estate to found Aubrey House School. Currently he is Chairman of Governors for Aubrey House School and Chancellor of a teaching college; the children have never met him, although there is a large portrait of him in the lobby of the school. Sir Thomas Fox is co-founder of the school and until his retirement was Chief Constable of Loamshire.

Unfortunately there's a problem. Somehow time is changing. In one version of the past Captain Pellew succeeded in murdering Tim, went on to inherit the estate, squandered his fortune, and eventually sold the house to a crooked financier who set it up as a fee-paying school on austere lines. In another Captain Pellew was caught but escaped from justice, and by a quirk of fate is now headmaster of a brutally run hell-hole. There are many other possibilities, and the children may experience several before the adventure is over.

The real problem is that by trying to resolve this chain of events the children will cause it; time travel is like that. Things have to go from bad to worse before the status quo can be restored, and trying to make things better before they understand the problem will be a very bad mistake.

Tim's ghost doesn't know any of this, of course; all he knows is that he's lost and lonely, and has an idea that something very odd is going on. As a ghost he can travel back into the past and witness the events that led to his death, and even take others with him in their dreams, but he knows nothing of magic and can't affect anything in the past. The children unfortunately don't suffer from this limitation...

The first section below describes the current situation at the school. The second describes the original sequence of events. The third describes travel into the past, some of the changes that might be made, and their effects on the school in the present.

To contents
Setting The Scene - Now

Aubrey House Preparatory School
Founder Sir Timothy Pellew (BA, MA Cantab.), now Chairman of Governors, Chancellor of Loamshire Teacher's College
Headmaster Dr. Arthur Scott (BA, BSc. Oxon.)
Students: 150 boarding of whom 50 are scholars, 20 non-residential of whom 15 are scholars - 118 boys, 52 girls. 24 teachers, 18 other staff. Facilities include gymnasium, stables, laboratory, workshops, chapel, theatre, library, sanitarium.

 Since its foundation Aubrey House School has enjoyed an enviable reputation for academic excellence. It is one of Britain's few co-educational boarding schools, and it is felt that this is of benefit to both boys and girls; boys are exposed to a civilising female influence, while setting an intellectual standard which challenges the girls to higher achievements...
 The school is located on a country estate on the Cornish coast, formerly the home of the Pellew family; the building has been extensively modernised for its new role, with dormitory blocks, a gymnasium, and a chapel and theatre added at either end of the main structure...
 As well as the usual sports, there is a strong emphasis on outdoor activities such as riding, sea bathing, and rock climbing. Girls are encouraged to participate where it is safe to do so...
 The school is heavily oversubscribed; all places are full, and there is a waiting list for admission if places become available.

Extracts from A Guide To British Boarding Schools
AUBREY House School is a converted 18th century mansion a mile or so from the Cornish coast. It was originally designed to accommodate a large family and guests and is now rebuilt to hold nearly two hundred children and staff, most of them residential. Behind the house a terrace ornamented with old statues of heraldic creatures - a lion, a unicorn, a leopard, and a bear - leads to extensive gardens which open onto woods and meadows, eventually sloping down to the beach.

On the whole it's a good and reasonably happy school; discipline is relaxed but firm within the normal limits of student-teacher propriety. This means that pupils refer to teachers as "Sir", "Maam", Miss ____" or "Mr. ___", and probably don't know their first names, but aren't actually afraid of them. Bullying is strongly discouraged by staff and pupils alike. In the terms used in the worldbook the school would be rated as:
Academic Quality Good, Reputation Excellent, Sports Good, Discipline Firm but Fair, Bullying Strongly Discouraged and Rare.

Most of the pupils are fee paying, the rest receive scholarships covering a half, two thirds, or all of the fee. Scholars tend to be brighter and poorer than the fee-paying pupils, but the relatively relaxed atmosphere means that this doesn't cause many problems. Some of the changes described below will alter the ratio of scholars to fee-paying pupils or may lead to more tension between the scholars (if any) and fee-paying students. The school might also change from co-educational to a single-sex establishment for girls or boys; if so all teachers will be the same sex as the pupils. See below for details of what to do with any adventurers who are the "wrong" sex in this situation.

The school is comfortable, and has ample room for the staff and pupils, but the conversion has left the original building a complicated maze of corridors and staircases, with seemingly random changes of level where the old and new structures meet. The plan shows the main buildings, there are also bathing huts on the beach to the South and cricket, hockey, and rugby fields, tennis courts and greenhouses to either side and further North. Precise details of the layout should be left vague, and are more or less irrelevant to the adventure.

There is electric lighting (on the Edison DC system) in these buildings, with a steam-driven generator (which also provides hot water) under the kitchens, attended by a boilerman. A pulley belt from the steam engine runs underground through a pipe to the workshops, powering lathes and drills. The generator is shut down at 10 PM unless there is some special reason to keep it running later; all pupils are supposed to be in bed at this time, and the staff quarters have oil lamps. In practice most pupils have candles and matches, although using them is a minor breach of school rules.

Note that the layout, staff and other details may change with any historical changes made by the children, as described in later sections. This section describes just one version; a useful way to show that there have been changes is to mention that the children get lost en route to class, a doorway seems to be in a different place, a subject that was taught downstairs is now on the first floor or vice versa, a different teacher is in charge of a particular subject, a teacher has a different title (Mister or Professor instead of Doctor), the building is illuminated by gas mantles, there are no workshops or stables, and so forth. All teachers are male unless stated otherwise or indicated by their title. There are at least two teachers for each subject, with teachers looking after tutorial groups or sports or taking a break when they are not with classes.

The two accommodation wings each have enough six-bed dormitories for the pupils, with dining rooms and common rooms below. The dormitories are comfortable and reasonably sized but plainly furnished. There are communal washrooms, lavatories, and bathrooms on each floor. Food is prepared in a kitchen block behind the main building. All of these buildings are new, and have no relevance to the earlier events described below.

The classrooms are mostly on the ground floor (for Americans, the first floor) and first floor (U.S. second floor) of the original building. They are mostly about 30 x 40 ft. with a raised platform at one end for the teacher's desk, with blackboards and visual aids such as maps and charts fixed to the walls. There are rooms for the following subjects on the ground floor:

The classrooms on the first and second floors (US second and third floors) were mostly built by joining two bedrooms of the original house:

The third floor (US fourth floor) of the old house, originally used as accommodation for servants, has been converted into a mixture of studies for the older pupils, music practice rooms, teacher's offices, and small classrooms for tutorial groups. None have any great relevance to this adventure or to events at the time of the attack on Tim. They are small compared to those on the floor below, and have sloping ceilings and high windows.

Physical Education and Sports are taught in the gymnasium, and on the playing fields around the school. The main instructors are Sergeant Bostik, a former Royal Marine specialising in gymnastics, athletics, and boxing, and Mr. Smythe, a cricket, tennis, and rowing blue who also teaches Classics. Most of the other teachers take sports with their classes as needed. Girls usually take dance lessons instead of physical education (which is usually considered unladylike), but are expected to participate in sports such as tennis, hockey and netball.

Religious Studies are taught mainly in the library, as noted above; additionally, Dr. Scott is a lay preacher and runs a short Church of England service every morning, followed by notices, with a longer service on Sundays. The chapel is a tasteful modern design equipped with an organ, pews and a gallery large enough for all the pupils, and a lectern for sermons and visiting speakers. It is occasionally used for magic lantern shows (usually concerning the evils of drink) and there is a projector and screen in a cupboard.

Craft is taught in workshops in an outlying building. Most of the students are boys, although an occasional girl is interested in woodwork, usually for artistic reasons. The equipment available includes all traditional woodworking tools, wood and metal lathes (driven by an underground belt from the steam engine that powers the school's generator), and drills. The tutor is Chief Petty Officer Saunders, a former Royal Navy artificer now close to retirement. He is assisted by Mr. Bowles, a carpenter who also takes care of minor building works around the school.

Riding is an expensive optional extra, not covered by the normal school fees or scholarships. The school has eight horses and four ponies, all reasonably placid mares or geldings. The stables are run by Captain Richards, formerly an officer of the Household Cavalry but now retired following the loss of an eye in Matabeleland. He is assisted by Mabel and Joan, villagers who look after the stables, usually with the help of some of the more horse-mad pupils.

The Sanitarium is a simple hospital wing with a five bed ward and two isolation rooms for single occupants. A nurse, Miss Clitheroe, looks after the facility (and is also responsible for first aid on the playing field and wherever else it might be needed). There is usually at least one child ill or requiring some form of treatment; prompt care has so far avoided any serious epidemics, but it is a possibility that all schools must face. The village doctor is called in if there is any reason for alarm, and all pupils are vaccinated against smallpox.

 Morning Bell 07.00
    Breakfast 07.30
     Assembly 08.30
     Lesson 1 09.00
     Lesson 2 10.00
        Break 11.00
     Lesson 3 11.15
     Lesson 4 12.15
        Lunch 13.15
     Lesson 5 14.15
     Lesson 6 15.15
          Tea 16.15
 Study period 17.00
    Free time 19.00
          Bed 21.30
   Lights Out 22.00
On weekdays the timetable shown to the right is used. The school day consists of six one-hour lessons, interrupted by a 15-minute break and an hour lunch, with a study period after tea which is also used for activities such as choir practice and society meetings. Students are timetabled for a mix of subjects each day, with one afternoon devoted to sports practice or the gymnasium.

On Saturdays there are three one-hour lessons; break is omitted and lunch is at 12.00, with the afternoon devoted to sports. Tea is at approximately 5.00 PM, later if an important sporting event runs over time.

On Sundays there are services in the chapel at 8.30 and 6.00 PM, the day is otherwise nominally free (but there are generally sports, swimming parties, expeditions to nearby historic sites, and other activities). Meals are served at the weekday times. It's the preferred day for parents to visit the school and take their children out.

The timetable of lessons varies according to the age of the pupils; for example, children aged 7-8 follow the schedule below - all lessons are an hour long:

3English Craft or

Craft or


There is some individual variation; for example, it isn't possible for all the children requiring piano lessons to be taught in the normal music lesson, so pupils must occasionally miss another lesson for piano instruction. There is a rota which supposedly ensures that the missed lessons are spread evenly between subjects, but it isn't perfect.

Each age group has a different timetable; for simplicity, and since it probably won't be necessary to detail more than a day or two of lessons, simply give each group the lessons shown for a different day from the list above if it is necessary to describe more than one.

Some typical students are briefly listed in the character descriptions below. Referees should use a few in each year group, just enough to give the impression of a larger class; others can be implied without bothering to mention names and other details. Alternatively, if you still remember your school days it can be fun to model the pupils on those in your classes.

To contents
Setting The Scene - Then

THIS section describes the situation in the past as it was before the adventurers become involved. Unfortunately there's an observer effect, even for spiritual time travellers, so as soon as the children go back in time (as described in the next section) things will go horribly wrong.

The description of events that follows is based on the outline in FF VI: The Wages of Sin, and reflects the actions taken by various test-players in that adventure. Some details have been changed to reflect the different viewpoint of the children, others have been omitted since they are irrelevant to this adventure.

Aubrey House was originally the private home of the Pellew family. In 18__ the members of the family in residence are Professor John Pellew and his wife Norma, his father Colonel Tom Pellew, then somewhat senile, and Norma's cousin Avril Baxter. The Pellews have one natural child, Captain Roderic Pellew, an Army officer normally serving in India, and one adopted child, Tim, a five-year-old foundling. Three other children died in a fire ten years earlier; a fire set by Roderic, although nobody else knows that.

Unknown to any other member of the family, Tim was Avril's child. She abandoned him on the Pellew's doorstep when he was a few weeks old, knowing that Norma wanted another child and sure that he would get a loving home. She later found an excuse to move in with her relatives and is reasonably happy with the situation, although she would like to tell Tim the truth when he is old enough to understand. She is also concealing a scandalous career on the music-hall stage, which has led to the acquisition of various conjuring skills. She intends to use these skills to fake the presence of friendly spirits at the seance, in order to relieve Norma of some of her grief.

There is another complication (see the article Accidents of Birth, on the FF CD-ROM and in the archives of Pyramid Magazine); Roderic isn't actually the real child of the Pellews, he is the illegitimate son of Potter the butler and a local farm girl who died in labour. The real Pellew heir is Detective Sergeant Thomas Fox (see below). The babies were born in the same cottage hospital, and somehow swapped a few hours after birth. Fox was bought up by his presumed aunt who lives in a nearby town. Fox has a distinctive birthmark on his back, which is common to most male members of the Pellew family; Roderic lacks this mark, and looks much like a younger version of Potter.

On the tenth anniversary of the fire Roderic is at home on leave; in debt, and sure that Dr. Pellew's will is going to leave half the estate to Tim, he plans to murder him. This will let him raise loans on the strength of his expected inheritance as sole heir to the Pellew fortune. To cover his intentions he has invited a young heiress, Lady Maureen Kincaid-Speller, to be his house guest. She is chaperoned by her Aunt Rose. Other occupants of the house at this time include various servants, Roderic's batman Gupta, and Dr. Pellew's secretary Thomas Fox, who is secretly a plain-clothes policeman. Detective-Sergeant Fox has been assigned to the house because there has been a series of country house burglaries in neighbouring counties, and the next robbery is expected somewhere in the area. His identity is a closely-guarded secret because it is suspected that servants have been helping the thieves. Only Dr. Pellew knows who he really is.

Another complication is the presence of the ghosts of Roderic's murdered siblings, who have been assigned by some Higher Power to protect Tim and save Roderic from himself. They are responsible for some or all of the "lucky accidents" that preserve Tim below.

The original sequence of events is as follows:

Wednesday: Roderic and his guests arrive in the morning and settle in. During this time Roderic makes sure that his parents have legally adopted Tim, and are not just treating him as a foster child, with no claim on the estate. Over lunch Mrs. Pellew mentions that she plans to hold a seance on Saturday evening, the tenth anniversary of the fire. Roderic decides that the seance will probably be an excellent diversion for an attack on Tim, although he will use any opportunity for an earlier attack if he thinks he can get away with it. Roderic briefly visits the nursery but has no opportunity to kill Tim. Lady Maureen and her aunt spend the early afternoon at archery practice; Roderic considers trying to arrange some sort of accident there, but both are excellent shots and an accident is unlikely to be plausible. Fox meets Lady Maureen and instantly falls in love with her. During this and every other day of the adventure Dr. Pellew is working on his Radium Ray, conducting a series of animal experiments with mice, rats, and frogs. Fox is expectd to be present for most of these experiments, take notes, and help with the animals, but is otherwise left to his own devices.

Thursday: Roderic takes a walk in the morning, meets his grandfather who is out shooting pigeons, and realises that the elder Pellew suffers from short sight and the early stages of senility. It might be possible to arrange some sort of shooting accident. Later he lures Tim to the beach, intending to try to drown him, but Tim innocently runs out over an unmarked patch of quicksand; he doesn't sink, but when Roderic tries to follow he sinks and is caught. Eventually he persuades Tim to run for help, and is rescued.

Meanwhile Fox notices some "bird watchers" (actually the crooks described below) who are looking at the house while pretending to study wildlife with binoculars. They seem to be more interested in the house than the birds, but since they stay on public land and aren't doing anything illegal they can't easily be brought in for questioning. Following his rescue Roderic bathes then spends the rest of the day with Lady Maureen. In the evening Fox warns Dr. Pellew that he thinks the burglars are in the area.

Friday: On another walk, with Lady Maureen, Roderic notices the marks left by a snake near a local stream. Later he returns alone with a thick cloth bag and a stout stick and captures the snake; a venomous adder. He skulks in the bushes until he sees Tim playing alone in the garden, then releases the snake nearby and beats a hasty retreat. Lady Maureen's poodle intervenes, fiercely keeping Tim and the snake apart. Roderic's batman Gupta is in his room tidying clothes; he hears the dog barking, looks out of the window to see what's happening, and throws one of Roderic's souvenir daggers at the snake, decapitating and killing it instantly.

After this incident Norma, Avril, and Nanny Scoggins all stay close to Tim, who has just seen his new "pet" killed and is in floods of tears. Roderic has no further chance to attack him. Later Dr. Pellew and Fox tell Roderic about the burglars, and reveal Fox's true identity to him, since he is obviously not a suspect in the burglaries. This makes Roderic realise that he must be much more careful. In the evening Fox makes several patrols of the house, frustrating another of Roderic's attempts to get into the nursery.

Saturday: Roderic goes out to shoot "vermin" with Captain Pellew, planning to shoot Tim and blame his grandfather if he gets the chance, but Tim is nowhere to be seen; one of the ghosts is talking to him, and he is too busy with the conversation to leave the garden.

Late in the morning there are unexpected visitors, two tough-looking "gentlemen", Mr. Brown and Mr. Green, who insist on seeing Roderic and won't go away without seeing him. They are debt collectors sent by a money-lender; Roderic owes him more than £2300 and can't pay. At this stage they are there to frighten and embarass Roderic, not to hurt him; that will come later. Roderic sees them outdoors and tries to keep them away from the house, but Fox overhears enough to realise that Roderic is in debt.

During the afternoon Roderic sees Fox and offers to take a turn patrolling the house in the evening, since he wants " excuse to get out of my mother's bloody seance. Morbid nonsense!" In fact he plans to disguise himself as Potter the butler, bring Nanny Scoggins a cup of tea laced with a sleeping draught (stolen from the laboratory), wait until she is unconscious, then smother Tim and make it look like burglars were responsible. Knowing of Potter's alcoholism, he also leaves four bottles of whisky where only Potter is likely to find them; Potter duly steals one of the bottles.

Later Norma asks Fox to participate in the seance and take notes. He is initially reluctant, but realises that Lady Maureen will also be present and agrees.

The Seance is set for Saturday evening in the drawing room. The participants are Norma Pellew, Avril Baxter, Lady Maureen and her aunt, Colonel Pellew (who dozes off before it actually begins), and Fox. The room is set up with a table and cloth, trumpet, tambourine, oiuja board, candlabra, and enough chairs for all the participants.

Avril waits several minutes after everyone joins hands before going into a fake trance. She moans slightly then falls back in her chair and says (in a childish voice): "Hello mummy, we're here", then tells Norma not to blame herself for the fire. "It wasn't your fault, mummy, it was an accident."

At this point a pair of sparks rises from the candle flame (or appears from nowhere if the room is completely dark) and start to spin very slowly around a common axis, like light reflected in someone's eyes as they slowly turn their head. A voice breaks in, apparently without source:

(a small boy's voice)"He he! That wasn't us, mummy, that was cousin Avril."
(two more sparks appear)
(a little girl's voice)"She was pretending."
(another pair of sparks appears)
(an older boy's voice)"She wants you to be happy and stop worrying about us."
(girl)"Well, she's right about that, but she shouldn't fib."
(older boy)"Don't be rude, Gwen, I'm sure she meant it for the best."
(girl)"Mummy, we're here and we love you. We're happy, and you must be too. We can't finish things while you blame yourself."
(older boy)"Avril was right - it wasn't your fault. You didn't start the fire."
(girl)"No, nor did poor old nurse. She's happy here too."
(little boy)"Don't say too much, you know the rules."
(older boy)"Look, we can't really say much. We just want you all to be happy and safe..."
(girl)"But we have to tell you...
(young boy)"No you can't, it isn't allowed..."
(older boy)"They'll have to work it out for themselves..."
(all three)"We've got to go. Goodbye!"

Any interruptions are ignored. The sparks vanish once they say goodbye.

The seance ends on this confusing note, but discussion of exactly what was said, and its implications, continues for some time. Avril admits that she was pretending at first, to set Norma's mind at ease; Norma forgives her. All four women are convinced that the children were really present, and Norma is comforted by what the children said. Fox isn't convinced and looks for speaking tubes, concealed phonographs, secret passages, and other trickery. He finds nothing.

Meanwhile Roderic makes his move. Having drugged Nanny Scoggins he goes through the nursery to Tim's bedroom - where, still disguised as Potter, he is attacked by the burglars who are coming in through the window! They leave him bound and gagged. The burglars accidentally knock over a vase as they finish the job, and beat a hasty retreat thinking that someone must have heard. They are wrong.

Roderic is still there an hour or so later when Tim wakes, hears him grunting through the gag, and says "Hello Roderic, why are you on the floor?" Roderic grunts and tries to get Tim to release him, but Tim can't manage the knots, and can't wake his nanny, so goes off to find an adult, arriving in the drawing room as the adults are finally preparing to adjourn.

Fox and Colonel Pellew get shotguns from the library and go to investigate, leaving Tim and the women in the drawing room. To their surprise they find Potter on the floor, not Roderic (neither sees through his disguise) and release him. As soon as he is freed "Potter" grunts something unintelligible (sounding vaguely like "urglus") points at the open window, and sneaks off as Fox and the Colonel investigate. Once out of the room he quickly gets to his own room, hides the disguise, gets his pistol, and fires a couple of shots out of the window, hitting nothing. He rejoins Fox and the Colonel, saying that he thinks he saw intruders outside. He is naturally "surprised" when they tell him what has happened. Eventually someone thinks of looking for Potter, finding him in an alcoholic stupor in his room. In the morning he remembers nothing. Meanwhile Tim is insistent that it was Roderic on the floor, not Potter, but everyone else thinks that he was dreaming.

Sunday: By now Roderic is desperate, but doing his best to hide the fact. The family and guests take carriages to church in the nearest village; Roderic joins the group, not out of any religious belief but because he wants to make sure that nobody is taking Tim seriously. After the service he lurks, hoping for another opportunity, but sees no opening.

In the afternoon there is a village cricket match, attended by most of the household. The visiting team springs an unexpected surprise; one of their players is Dr. W.G. Grace, the famous cricketer, who happens to be staying in their village! Meanwhile the home team is three men short. Fox offers to play, Roderic also volunteers (thinking that he might be able to hit or throw a ball in Tim's direction) and says that "my man is frightfully good". Gupta is summoned and hastily equipped with cricketing clothes, then proceeds to bowl a series of unnervingly good balls which devastate the rival team. This continues until Grace comes to the wicket and starts to score. Eventually Grace's team wins the match, but Gupta has scored 132, taken five wickets and twice come close to catching Grace out, Fox scores 53 not out and takes one wicket, and Roderic is out for 12 and never gets to bowl. Afterwards Grace and Gupta chat; Grace gives Gupta his card, and offers to help him get a job as a cricket professional if he ever wants one. Roderic doesn't get a chance to harm Tim.

Towards the evening Colonel Pellew goes out shooting rooks, and Roderic makes another attempt to arrange an accident. He conceals another rifle in the trees where the Colonel is shooting and goes looking for Tim, finding him in the garden. Roderic picks him up and gives him a "piggy-back" ride into the area where the Colonel is shooting. As he puts Tim down and gets the gun Lady Maureen arrives; she saw Roderic taking Tim for a walk and decided to join them. Unfortunately for Roderic, she sees him preparing to shoot Tim and starts to scream.

Roderic is startled and misses Tim, then tries to make her stop screaming by grabbing and shaking her. As he does so Aunt Rose and Fox arrive, and Maureen gasps out her story. Roderic goes for his gun, but Fox leaps at him and knocks it from his hand. A brawl ensues, during which Fox's shirt is ripped, revealing a birth mark on his shoulder. Attracted by the disturbance, Colonel Pellew arrives carrying another rifle, which Roderic grabs. There's another desperate struggle for the gun, ending in a sudden shot. Roderic has managed to put a bullet through his own leg.

Fox arrests him and everybody goes back to the house, where Professor Pellew attends to Roderic's wound in the laboratory. Norma Pellew sees Fox's birth mark and realises its significance; she remembers that her baby had such a mark when he was born, but it had "faded" a few hours later. In the confusion caused by this announcement Roderic breaks free and tries to escape through the window, slips, and falls to impale himself on the horn of the unicorn statue on the terrace below. Amazingly he is still alive, though fading fast, and the servants lift him from the horn and bring him back inside.

A Little Anachronism
The radium ray is anachronistic in a Victorian setting; radium was identified as an element in 1898 and purified in 1911. Nobody has ever mentioned this to the author in the years since the original adventure was published!
Back in the laboratory, Professor Pellew readies his radium ray and uses it in a desperate attempt to heal Roderic's injury, at a higher power than he has ever tried before. It's a very bad mistake. Instead of healing him, the ray burns a searing path through Roderic's chest. His lifeless body crumples to the floor.

In the aftermath of these events the truth about Roderic and Fox is gradually determined, and he is recognised as an heir to the Pellew estate. By now he is engaged to Lady Maureen, and on the fast track to early promotion in the Loamshire constabulary thanks to her family's influence. Neither wants to live in Cornwall. When the Professor eventually dies his will leaves the mansion and its grounds to Fox, with a sizeable fortune split between Tim and Fox. Since Fox doesn't want to live there, and Tim has been thinking of starting his own school, they eventually decide to set up a company to build it in the mansion. Fox and his heirs retain ownership of the estate, but gain a sizeable income from the school and have no intention of ending the arrangement by turning it back into a private home. Timothy has the chance to put his educational theories into practice, and soon becomes well-known in academic circles. His eventual knighthood is almost inevitable.

And all would have lived happily ever after, if it wasn't for those pesky kids...

To contents
Dream A Little Dream With Me

THERE'S something going wrong with time; some freak eddy in cause and effect, perhaps a result of the ghostly tampering that saved Tim. Whatever the reason, a ghost that shouldn't exist will appear in the children's dreams a few nights later.

After the children have seen the ghost, try to give them the impression that it may just be a freak occurrence, or a harbinger of something that hasn't yet happened. Describe a normal day at school, as detailed in an earlier section, with no hint of supernatural phenomena, and if time permits wait through two or three days before the children begin to dream of Tim.

In the meantime children may think of asking about a child who died somewhere near the school, and is associated with the school or the previous occupants of the house; they'll probably end up assuming that he's one of the three children who died in the fire. They won't identify Tim at first; in this time line (so far) he is still alive. Of course Sir Timothy Pellew's name is on the notice board at the school entrance and the school's letter-headed paper, and his portrait (as a fifty-year old man) is in the lobby, but these are things the children see every day, and if they are looking for a child they simply won't notice them. If they specifically say that they are looking for a living adult rather than a child they should eventually think of the teachers and headmaster; once they do so, identifying him as someone who was a child living in the house should be easy. Incidentally, Fox's portrait is also displayed in the lobby, as "Sir Thomas Fox, Co-Founder of the School".

Two of the maids are the only people at the school with links to the earlier occupants; their grandmothers worked in Aubrey House before it became a school. They have heard stories of Roderic's attack on Sir Timothy when he was a little boy, but don't feel it is a suitable topic for discussion with children. While there are several newspaper clippings albums in the library, containing stories about the school and Aubrey House, only a few of the earliest are at all relevant. They're all in the oldest and dustiest albums:

If the adventurers have some way of looking into the past independently of Tim they can see the events above. However, nothing should make it immediately obvious that they are looking for a child called Tim, or events fifty years ago.

What if the adventurers have some means of travelling to the past when they are awake, such as the Amulet or another magical time machine? Let them! They will disrupt things even more if they are physically present, and sooner or later someone will throw them out as trespassers. They will also have trouble seeing the ghosts, and may be in the line of fire when Roderic executes his plans.

Eventually the children should be in bed asleep. It's time for their next encounter with Tim. It starts with a re-run of the party, except that this time everyone else looks ghostly while Tim is solid and opaque. The adventurers seem slightly less "real" than Tim, but more solid than everyone else at the party. Any magical equipment etc. that they would normally be carrying is still present in the dream, but has no real effect. Let the children ask a few questions; Tim is playing with "Muffin" (a dream memory of the real dog) and at first ignores them. They will also discover that they can't touch him or each other, and can't leave the dormitory where the party was held. As they get closer to the walls and door they seem to get further away, in the manner of dreams, and it should be obvious that the children are dreaming, or are somehow present in someone else's dream. Any spells that they try achieve nothing.

Eventually Tim notices the children and says "I'm Tim. Let's find Mummy". The dormitory seems to flicker, then is a bare room without beds or carpets, and with half-decorated walls. Again, and the children are standing in mid-air in a building that is only half-complete. Again, and they are drifting down towards a lawn. Although it seems to be a bright sunlit day, the colours of the scene are muted, like a lightly-tinted photograph. As the children look they see a second Tim sitting on the lawn, with a yapping poodle in front of him trying to protect him from a snake. As they get closer the poodle seems to hesitate and looks backward and forward between the living Tim, the ghost, and the other children. While he is distracted the living Tim reaches out to pet the snake, which bites his arm. As the children watch helplessly he shrieks; seconds later a thrown knife flashes down to impale the snake, but it is too late. The ghostly Tim looks at the scene, while the living Tim collapses. Adults gather around him, walking through the ghost and the adventurers without seeing or feeling them, and carry him inside. The ghostly Tim says "Bad snake!" and tries to touch the dead reptile; naturally his hands pass right through the corpse.

If anyone tries to leave the scene they will find that they can't move more than a few paces from Tim; as in the earlier dormitory scene, distances seem to stretch to prevent them leaving. Tim starts to cry, and the voice of another child says "Oh no! Gwen, I think Tim was hurt. You check him, Alan and I will stay here."

There's a shimmer, and two more ghostly children appear, boys aged 8 and 5 but somehow looking older and wiser than their apparent years. "Who are you?" asks the older of the two. A third ghost appears, a girl aged 7. "Tim's dead. That should never have happened."

Try to keep things as confusing as possible, while getting the adventurers to say who they are and what they are doing in the past. If anyone asks the three new ghosts who they are, David says "Don't be silly. We're ghosts, of course." Getting more information than this should be difficult, since they aren't supposed to discuss the nature of their mission, but given this emergency they're a little off-guard and will admit any of the following that seems likely to advance the plot:

Make it clear that the ghosts can't change things once they have happened; they can try to influence events, within the limits of their powers, but as far as they are concerned Tim is now dead, and there is nothing that can be done to change that.

Before this can really be discussed they feel themselves being pulled away from the scene, and wake in their dormitories to the sound of the early morning bell.

For Want of a Nail...

At first everything seems normal, but gradually the children should become aware that something is wrong with the school - or rather, that their memories of the school do not match the current reality.

The first change is that the dormitories are a bit smaller and dingier than they remember, and the bathrooms are more crowded. There seem to be two more dormitories per floor in each of the wings, with another 48 pupils in total accommodated. The food is much poorer than it was, breakfast is almost indigestible. The classrooms are much the same, but crowd in a few extra desks. There are far fewer scholarship pupils. Some favourite teachers are missing, others seem to be teaching a much heavier timetable and have no time to give students any individual attention. There are fewer clubs and societies, and there seems to be more fighting and bullying. There are fewer science, art and music lessons, with more concentration on the classics, religious instruction, and the "Three R's"; reading, writing, and arithmetic. There is no workshop for craft lessons, and the stables have a few neglected ponies.

In short, the school is now being run primarily as a money-making operation, with children given a minimal prep school education, just enough to keep their parents happy. Its rating is:
Academic Quality Poor, Reputation Indifferent, Sports Mediocre, Discipline Lax, Bullying Common.

One notable change is that there is no longer a portrait of the school's founder in the lobby. The current headmaster is the Revd. Reginald Blenkinsop, a clergyman in his late fifties, who is notable for the length and incomprehensibility of the sermons he preaches every morning and on Sundays. He is the latest in a succession of mediocre and otherwise-unemployable headmasters hired cheaply to fill in the years before their retirement.

Any attempt to discuss this with the other pupils or teachers is obviously going to get nowhere; everybody else seems to think that things are perfectly normal. Encourage the children to speculate on events; newspaper stories in the library give a few answers (and will help the children identify the four ghosts they've met if they haven't already done so):

Try And Change The Past

Once the children realise what has happened, give them a day or two of the new disimproved school before Tim visits them in their dreams again. Unlike the other ghosts, he is able to travel backwards and forwards in time; this may be because his existence as a ghost is less certain than theirs, but he can't explain it and doesn't really care. He can only travel to the area around the house, and within a period of a few days before and after the events described above. He can take the adventurers with him.

From this point onwards the adventurers should be allowed to explore the events around Tim's death, and suggest which moment they want to visit, but will soon discover that wherever they go, the simple fact of their presence changes things. They won't be able to put things right until they learn how to control their effects on the past.

As an optional complication their subsequent dreams with Tim can be mixed in with other dreams and nightmares; telling them apart should not be easy, and children may be embarassed to find that their personal dreams are now common knowledge. One way to simulate this is to get each player to write down several themes for their character's personal dreams and/or nightmares, then (preferably some time later) describe these events happening to another character, mixing in elements from more than one character's list. For example:
"Fred, you dream that you're sitting on the bear-skin rug in the Headmaster's study, writing out your Greek homework on Stephanie's back. The ink is making a mess of her shirt. Stephanie, you're lying on the rug, which you can see is an enormous squashed Teddy bear, trying to persuade it to eat Ian, who is carving your name on the Head's desk. Ian, as you carve Stephanie's name you suddenly realise that you have forgotten to put on your trousers. Tim comes in munching a large handful of crackers and says 'We're right out of cheese. Maybe Mummy has some', and the scene slowly fades to the lawn outside the house. You can see the living Tim playing with the adder again..."

Because the children can only be present in the past in an immaterial dream form, and won't always be able to tell their dreams from the real past they are visiting, their ability to manipulate the world is very limited. Effectively they are ghosts. They are also limited by being unable to move far from Tim, as described above, and Tim isn't always going to want to cooperate. He is also limited in being unable to venture back more than a few days before the events described. The real ghosts can't help with this; they have their own job to do, and regard the adventurers as an unwelcome distraction. Eventually the children should learn a few tricks:

In order to restore the status quo all of the following things must happen:

It's possible to imagine sequences of events which bring about these results under very different circumstances; for example, Roderic might go insane under pressure from the ghosts and commit suicide, while Fox might is injured fighting the burglars, revealing the birthmark during treatment, which leads to his identification as the Pellew heir and eventual marriage to Lady Maureen.

What if the adventurers aren't interested in restoring the status quo? There's no real problem, just continue "normal" school life in the new setting, and emphasise its disadvantages. Tim will continue to turn up in their dreams occasionally, and sooner or later they will probably decide to try to help. If not, the dreams eventually end, and the new setting becomes the norm. This isn't a situation where their belief (or lack of it) in magic can change things much, so it isn't necessary to start rolling for a loss of MAGIC immediately. However, the new school setting doesn't seem to give the children any opportunities for adventures, and may be actively unpleasant, and term does seem to go on for a very long time. Especially if the referee takes things a day at a time and describes nothing but lessons, boring meals, etc.... Eventually they will probably get bored and try to dream of Tim again, and the adventure can resume.

The Nature of the Catastrophe

The adventurers and/or the ghosts can deliberately or accidentally intervene in events at any time. The most obvious possibilities for a change are as follows:






Dozens of outcomes are possible, all of them affecting the school one way or another; here are some more examples with varying degrees of likeliness, each with a brief summary of the school's status and reputation as described in the worldbook:

Let's Do The Time Warp Againn

How many changes will it take to put things back the way that they were? Just one, provided that it's the right one. What the adventurers need to do, although it may take them a while to think of it, is to travel to a moment before they have previously intervened, then make a minor change that will have harmless effects. This changes all subsequent events, and hopefully ends with the status quo restored.

Of course it may take two or three tries to get it right, and even the most apparently minor change may snowball into a huge difference after fifty years. For example:
The children break a vase, thinking that Tim will be blamed and sent to bed early, and thus avoid contact with Roderic that evening. Instead Lady Maureen treads on it and cuts her foot, and develops a mild infection that keeps her in bed for two or three days. As a result Fox has little contact with her, they never fall in love, and although Fox does eventually save the day, and is revealed as the true heir, he never marries Lady Maureen. Without her he stays in Cornwall and eventually becomes Chief Constable there. Needless to say the Chief Constable needs somewhere impressive to live, so he buys out Tim's share of Aubrey House. Tim uses the money, and his own, to set up the school of his dreams - in Glasgow! It's still a very good school, but none of the children are students there; instead they are pupils at the other Cornish prep and "Dame" schools mentioned above.

Eventually the children should get it right. Things are restored, and Aubrey House is the way it has always been. But Tim's ghost remains, despite the fact he's still alive, because the children haven't yet convinced him that he's survived. His portrait in the lobby might be considered proof enough, but Tim doesn't recognise himself. Fortunately, and by an unlikely coincidence, there's a meeting of the governors at the school a couple of days later, and all of the children are supposed to greet them at the end of morning assembly. If the children realise that Sir Timothy will be present they can contact Tim in their dreams, and persuade him to "appear" at the right moment. The headmaster introduces Sir Timothy, Sir Thomas and Lady Maureen, and other notables. The adventurers (but nobody else) see Tim go up to Sir Timothy and touch his hand, then the ghost seems to merge into the man. Sir Timothy smiles, as though he has just heard a particularly good joke, and seems to stand a little straighter. He talks to Sir Thomas and the headmaster for a moment, then steps onto the stage.

Sir Timothy says "Boys and girls, I have a special announcement to make. As some of you will know, I am a foundling, and was adopted by the Pellew family, the former occupants of Aubrey House. At Easter a carpenter making repairs to one of your classrooms found an envelope concealed under a loose board. The letter was written by a lady I will not name, a cousin of the family, and describes the exact circumstances of my birth. As a result, I am finally able to say that this is my birthday; moreover, I am fifty-five today. Today is also the fiftieth anniversary of the day when my brother met his wife.

"In celebration, there will be no lessons today; instead there will be a party in the garden at noon, and fireworks this evening. Naturally you are all invited.

"Finally, since you haven't had time to get me any presents, I've decided to give you some instead." Two of the school's porters bring in baskets full of gaily wrapped packages, enough for all of the pupils, and set them on a table near the door.

The headmaster calls for three cheers for Sir Timothy and the other governors, then Sir Timothy moves to the tables and starts to hand out parcels to the children as they leave the chapel. Somehow everyone seems to get exactly the present they want; a pony book, a shiny toy car, a dainty silver locket. Sir Timothy shakes everyone's hand, and says a few words to them. Mostly it's just "have fun", but when he reaches the adventurers he smiles particularly broadly and says "Young Tim says 'Thank you and enjoy the party.'"

For some reason the adventurers are certain that it's going to be a wonderful day...

To contents

Characters in the Present

Unless stated otherwise all teachers are competent adults with skill [7] or better in their main subject, skill [6] or better in another subject or Athlete, and Actor (teaching) [5] or better as their skill in communicating their subject to pupils. Precise details of all statistics shouldn't be needed.

The table below lists some typical students who can be used in classes attended by the adventurers, or interact with them outside lessons. Each is listed with one skill and one trait; obviously they have more but the skill shown is the best, Skill [5] or better, the trait shown is the most obvious or most important to the child in question. Not all of the traits listed will be obvious at a glance! A few students are listed as having MAGIC [1] or better; usually they are untrained, or at best have some unconscious skill shown as Wizardry [1]. None of these pupils were present at the midnight feast.

Name              Main Skill                 Most Important Trait  MAGIC   Wizardry
Barnard, Annabel  Athlete (Tennis, Hockey)   Androgynous           0      0
Bell, James       Science (Chemistry)        Brave                 0      0
Bennett, Howard   Linguist (French, German)  Greedy                1      0
Bryant, Jennifer  Actor (Dance)              Beautiful             1      0
Bull, Roger       Linguist (German, Italian) Coward                1      1
Clarke, David     Scholar (History)          Vain                  0      0
Curtis, Peter     Athlete (Cricket)          Secret (illegitimate) 0      0
Dale, Jack        Science (Physics)          Daredevil             0      0
Edwards, Harry    Artist (Painting)          Sickly                0      0
Ferguson, Robert  Scholar (Religion)         Pious (prays nightly) 1      1
Gould, Rachel     Actor (Drama)              Gambler               2      1
Green, Albert     Actor (Singer)             Hobby (stamps)        1      0
Harrison, Stephen Brawling (Boxing)          Brave                 0      0
Henshaw, Diana    Riding (Dressage)          Beautiful             0      0
James, David      Actor (violinist)          Crippled (Lame)       0      0
Jenkins, Matilda  Artist (Cookery)           Lucky                 1      0
Jennings, John    Scholar (Geography)        Loner                 1      0
Keith, Ian        Athlete (Swimming)         Hobby (bird eggs)     1      0
Kurtz, Mabel      Science (Chemistry)        Androgynous           0      0
Lawson, Arthur    Mechanic (Metalwork)       Grubby                0      0
Lewis, Mary       Artist (Painting)          Stoic                 1      1
Maitland, Freda   Artist (Printing)          Grubby                0      0
Miller, Steven    Brawling (Boxing)          Bully                 0      0
Nicholls, John    Mechanic (Woodwork)        Greedy                1      0
O'Brien, David    Science (Physics)          Sickly                0      0
Price, Gregory    Artist (Dance)             Mercenary             1      0
Robinson, Elaine  Scholar (Geography)        Streetwise (Glasgow)  1      1
Sherwood, Anne    Scholar (Literature)       Brave                 0      0
Sullivan, James   Babbage Engine (Maths)     Prig                  0      0
Thomas, Larry     Athlete (Rugby, Cricket)   Androgynous           0      0
Wells, William    Linguist (Latin, Greek)    Charitable            1      0

Little Tim (a ghost)
BODY [-], MIND [3], SOUL [3], MAGIC [8], Wizardry [0]
Spells: -
Equipment: Accompanied by a ghostly toy poodle; it is his memory of the poodle Muffin (see below), and has been created by his imagination.
Quote: "I want mummy..."
Notes: This version of Tim is a ghost, although he doesn't really know it. He died knowing nothing of magic or the supernatural, and has no idea how to communicate with the living, but can travel back into the past and take the adventurers with him - see above.

Agatha and Dorothy (The housemaids - ages 19, 17)
Both BODY [3], MIND [3], SOUL [3], MAGIC [0], no game-related skills, equipment, or spells.
Quote: "Oi, none of your lip, young man!"
Notes: Two of several pleasant hard-working lower-class girls who look after the routine housekeeping of the school. Their grandmothers worked as housemaids in Aubrey House when it was a private mansion. They know a little about the earlier occupants of the house; they can answer any simple question about the Pellew family and their servants on a 2D6 roll of 5 or less.

Characters in the Past

See The Wages of Sin in FF VI for more detailed descriptions of these characters and some other NPCs. It should be remembered that the original adventure was supposed to be run in the style of a period melodrama, and that the characters were designed primarily for their melodramatic possibilities.

Little Tim (a foundling - age 5)
BODY [1], MIND [3], SOUL [3], MAGIC [8], Athlete (running, climbing) [2], Wizardry [0]
Spells: -
Equipment: Toys, worms, sweets, etc. Usually wears a sailor suit.
Quote: "This worm tastes howwid..."
Notes: Young Tim is a bit of a handful; bright and extremely fast for his age, with a habit of ducking between male legs or under skirts when evading Scoggins and other authority figures. He also has a vivid inner life; he thinks his teddy bear (Teddy) and stuffed giraffe (Gertrude) talk to him, so he doesn't think it odd that there are three children called Alan, Gwen, and David that he can see and nobody else can. He hasn't bothered to mention any of this because he thinks worms are much more important. He also likes Muffin the poodle.
Special Note: If anyone expects Teddy to be another version of Arnold (see the worldbook and other adventures) they will be disappointed. Arnold was created or summoned by the combined imagination of hundreds of thousands of children, which took a considerable amount of time. In this past era Teddy bears are still comparatively rare, and Arnold hasn't yet manifested.

Captain Roderic Pellew DSO (Indian Army - age 23)
BODY [5], MIND [4], SOUL [2], MAGIC [0], Brawling [7], Driving (carriage) [6], Marksman [7], Melee Weapons [8], Military Arms [7], Morse Code [5], Riding [6], Stealth [7], Thief [7], Wizardry [0]
Equipment: Service revolver, .303 rifle, ammunition, various souvenirs of his campaigns including knives and daggers, and a hideous bronze idol with a large green gem in its forehead, obviously far too big to be real. Disguise (see below).
Quote: "Fine fighter the Gurkha, brave as a lion..."
Notes: Apparently a hero, he is actually a murderer who despises his entire family and doesn't care if they are destroyed - provided he inherits. Ten years ago he set fire to the nursery and killed his little brother and sisters. He somehow avoided suspicion and has gone on to other crimes. Unfortunately he is currently several thousand pounds in debt. Recently his parents adopted a foundling child, Tim, who is likely to inherit a large share of the family fortune. His goal is to eliminate Tim without arousing any suspicion, and the rest of the family given a suitable opportunity. He has invited Lady Maureen home partly because he believes her an heiress, but mainly as a cover for his other activities.
 He is accompanied by his servant Gupta, but doesn't trust him to help with his plans.
 His Acting skill is used mainly to pretend to be a loyal son - however, he can disguise himself as the butler, Sylvester Potter. It won't fool anyone in a good light, but by candle-light or in the dark he can probably get away with it.
 Role Playing Note: Roderic is insane. He is also a melodramatic Villain (see FF VI) who engages in prolonged monologues about his cunning plans and villainy when he thinks he is alone.

Professor John Pellew (Humanitarian scientist - age 44)
BODY [3], MIND [5], SOUL [2], MAGIC [0], Business [6], Detective [5], Doctor [7], First Aid [8], Scientist (biology, physics) [8], Wizardry [0]
Equipment: A fully-equipped medical laboratory including chemicals and surgical tools, samples of radium salts, an experimental radium healing ray.
Quote: "Now if we bathe the wound in radium rays for about thirty seconds..."
Notes: A preoccupied scientist who hopes to find the secret of rapid healing via radium rays. He has a medical degree but no longer practices, except in emergencies. His prototype ray seems to heal animal injuries quite well, but is nowhere near ready for human experiments. He is disturbed by his wife's spiritualist interests but can see no easy way to discuss the matter without distressing her.
 For full details of the ray and its effects on normal people see FF VI.

Norma Pellew (John's Wife - age 42)
BODY [2], MIND [3], SOUL [3], MAGIC [0], Actor (sing lullabies etc.) [5], Artist (flower arrangement) [6], Athlete (Tennis) [5], First Aid [5], Medium [2], Ride [6], Wizardry [0]
Spells: -
Equipment: -
Quote: "...of course that was when the children were alive... (sob)"
Notes: Norma believes she caused the death of her children by leaving a candle in their bedroom. She has turned to spiritualism and other religions, and have found some solace there, but would dearly love to hear from the children once more, to put their memories to rest. She loves little Tim the foundling, who is now her adopted child, but isn't sure he will ever replace her lost children in her heart. She holds a seance every year in their memory. She has been stealing laudanum from her husband's surgery to help her sleep, and occasionally suffers short mood swings, which leave her angry with the world and hating Tim, who can never replace her children. They never last more than a few minutes.

Thomas Fox (Secretary - A.K.A. Detective Constable Fox - age 23)
BODY [4], MIND [4], SOUL [4], MAGIC [0], Actor (pianist) [7], Athlete (running) [6], Brawling [6], Business [5], Detective [5], Drive (carriage) [5], Marksman [6], Melee Weapons [6], Ride (Bicycle, Horse) [5], Stealth [4], Wizardry [0]
6 Bonus points - may be used to improve dice rolls or for luck ONLY.
Equipment: Handcuffs, police uniform, etc. (usually in locked case in bedroom), bicycle (in shed in kitchen garden).
Quote: (as secretary) "Should I end that 'yours sincerely' or 'yours faithfully'" (as D.C. Fox) "I must inform you, sir, that I am a police officer"
Notes: A hard-working detective assigned to the house in the belief that it will be targeted by country house burglars. Only Professor Pellew knows his real identity. He has fallen in love with Lady Maureen, but feels that his lack of social status makes any liason impossible.
Role Playing Note: Fox is a classic melodramatic Hero and will always prefer to use his fists to a gun or other weapons. He finds it almost impossible to hurt a woman, regardless of provocation.

Lady Maureen (a house guest - age 21)
BODY [2], MIND [3], SOUL [4], MAGIC [0], Actor (musician esp. violin) [7], Artist (watercolours) [5], Brawling [2], Linguist (French, German, Italian, modern Greek) [7], Marksman [4], Riding [5], Scientist (botany and natural history) [4], Wizardry [0]
Spells: -
Equipment: Fashionable summer clothing, fan, opera glasses (useful for bird-watching), parasol, sketch pad, pencils and paints, violin, bow and arrows (in trunk), Muffin (a poodle).
Quote: "Hello trees, hello flowers, what a wonderful day..."
Notes: The third daughter of a noble family, she has little money in her own right. She recently returned from a tour of Europe, where she met Captain Roderic Pellew, a handsome young Indian Army officer. She has accepted an invitation to visit his family home, accompanied by her aunt who is acting as chaperon. She isn't sure if she wishes to encourage Captain Pellew to continue his attentions, this visit should give her more of an idea of his personality.
 Lady Maureen is simply an innocent guest in the house, with no real knowledge of the Pellew family. She tends towards optimism and charming happiness, but can scream with the best given suitable provocation.
 Her chaperon, Aunt Rose, is a quiet middle-aged lady who secretly smokes cheroots and is Loamshire's archery champion.
Role Playing Note: Lady Maureen is a classic melodramatic Romantic Lead, inclined to swoon prettily, scream, or faint as suits the needs of the plot. She is useless in combat and almost always acts like a total wimp. However, she is protected by almost supernatural luck, and for the purposes of this adventure it can be assumed that all attacks, regardless of their severity, do no more than wind her or cause her to faint. For example, if she is shot at point-blank range the bullet will ricochet off one of the bones of her corset.

Muffin (Lady Maureen's dog)
BODY [1], MIND [2], SOUL [2], MAGIC [0], Brawling [2], Detective (scent) [3], Medium [4], Stealth [3], Wizardry [0]
Bite, Effect 2, A:B, B:F, C:F
Wounds B[ ] F[ ] C[ ] (any Injury result is critical)
Spells: -
Equipment: -
Quote: ""Yap! Yap! Yap!" "
Notes: Muffin is a miniature poodle, and is as cute as cute can be. She usually has a pink ribbon or some other decoration round her neck. Her main goal is to find something really smelly and roll in it for a while. She can see ghosts (and other spiritual entities such as the time travellers), and will respond by staring at them at first, then ignoring them when she gets used to them and realise they mean her no harm. She can't usually understand orders or get help etc., but she will fiercely defend Lady Maureen (whom she loves) and Tim (who often has sweets and occasionally smells disgusting).

  • Adder (venomous snake)
    BODY [1], MIND [1], SOUL [1], MAGIC [0], Brawling [3], Wizardry [0]
    Bite, Poison, Effect 4+1/Rd, A:F, B:F/I, C:I/C
    Wounds B[ ] F[ ] C[ ] (any Injury result is critical)
    Notes: Adders are Britain's only venomous snake, living mostly in marshy areas and near rivers and streams. They are 2-3 ft long, timid, and rarely bite humans, except in self-defence. Their venom is generally only dangerous to small animals and possibly children. For the purposes of this adventure, however, all adders encountered are fierce and aggressive: If anyone handles one roll 2D6, on any result of 8 or more the snake will try to bite them.

    Sylvester Potter (Drunken butler - age 55)
    BODY [2], MIND [2], SOUL [2], MAGIC [0], Acting (act sober) [5], Brawling [4], Business [4], Drive (carriage) [3], Thief (alcohol only) [5], Wizardry [0]
    Equipment: 2 bottles of whisky and 1 rum (under bed), corkscrew, bottle opener, access to all domestic equipment in kitchen etc., keys to all rooms of the house.
    Quote: "Dinner is... hic... served"
    Notes: A borderline alcoholic who sometimes steals whisky from the cellar, brandy from the decanter, etc. etc. He goes on a bender, witnessed only by the servants, once or twice a month. Another is about due. Nevertheless he is loyal to the Pellew family. He has a sneaking suspicion that Tim might be his son by one of the local farm girls, although there is no proof. He is considering a proposal to Mrs. Sugden, the cook.

    Colonel Tom Pellew (Retired soldier - age 75)
    BODY [2], MIND [3], SOUL [3], MAGIC [0], Brawling [4], Marksman [4], Melee Weapon [4], Military Arms [5], Morse Code [4], Scholar (British military history) [6], Wizardry [0]
    Equipment: 20-gauge shotgun (small shotgun)
    Quote: "Blasted pigeons are no better than rats - squirrels too!"
    Notes: A retired soldier who fought for King, Queen, and Country for nearly fifty years, and feel that the modern army is becoming a namby-pamby joke. He is in the early stages of senility and suffers from arthritis and malaria which have drained most of his strength. He has a habit of trying to seduce housemaids and any other available young women, just to prove he still can. He is not related to Avril by blood, she is his daughter-in-law's cousin, and a damned attractive young filly, by thunder...

    Avril Baxter (Cousin of Norma Pellew - age 34)
    BODY [3], MIND [4], SOUL [4], MAGIC [0], Actress (juggler, magician, fake medium) [6], Artist (embroidery, knitting, etc.) [6], First Aid [7], Medium [7], Scholar (Geography, History, English) [5]
    Equipment: Embroidery needles etc.
    Quote: "Knit one, pearl three..."
    Notes: Unknown to anyone else in the house, she is little Tim's mother. She has a chequered and hidden past as a runaway who became a music hall magician, juggler, and fake medium. The Pellews think that she was a medical missionary in Africa. She abandoned little Tim on the doorstep of Aubrey House, knowing that her cousin had lost children and would probably want to take care of him. Later she found excuses to move in with the family where she can see him every day. Se even helps to teach him, since Nanny Scoggins can't cope.

     She wishes she could tell the truth but knows it would make the Pellew family unhappy. She is worried about Norma Pellew's spiritualist obsession, and wants to bring her "closure" by faking a message from her children at the next seance.

    Nanny Scoggins (Tim's Nanny - age 35)
    BODY [2], MIND [2], SOUL [2], MAGIC [0], First Aid [5].
    Equipment: Nothing relevant
    Quote: "Tim! Timmmmmy! Come to nanny, dear!"
    Notes: An ineffectual and poorly trained nanny who can't really keep up with her young charge and is generally seen looking for him while he perpetrates mischief elsewhere. She is harassed, tired, and perpetually making excuses for her failure to keep Tim under control. She is also extremely nosy and inclined to suspect that any personal remark made by a man has sexual overtones.

    Gupta (Captain Pellew's servant - Age 27)
    BODY [3], MIND [2], SOUL [3], MAGIC [0], Athlete [5] (cricket [8]), Brawling [4], Drive (carriage) [4], Linguist (English) [3], Marksman [6], Melee Weapons [5], Ride (Horse, elephant) [5], Stealth [5], Wizardry [0]
    Spells: -
    Equipment: Cricket bat, clothing, a few Indian trinkets.
    Quote: "I am putting out the light grey suit, sahib, the dark one is still being ironed."
    Notes: An Indian of indeterminate caste who has been working for Captain Pellew for four months and is becoming disenchanted, especially since he has never been paid a regular wage. He is a keen cricketer and would like a chance to play on a real British cricket pitch. He has a peculiar knack for cricket, which doesn't extend to other athletic activities.

    Alan, Gwen, and David (Ghosts of children aged 8, 7, and 5)
    BODY [-], MIND [3], SOUL [3], MAGIC [1], Actor (sing) [4], Morse Code [4] (Alan only), Riding (to soothe and control animals only; Gwen only) [5], Wizardry [1]
    Spells: Communication, Illusions, Levitation
    Equipment: None (ghosts have certain disadvantages in this respect...)
    Quote: "No mummy, it wasn't your fault we died..."
    Notes: As the adventure begins only Tim and Muffin can see or hear these ghosts, although Norma dimly senses their supernatural presence. As time passes more people should start to see or hear them, or experience their powers, especially at night. The children can't explain where they are or why they are still around the house, except to say that "things aren't finished yet". They won't elaborate at first, but it should become apparent that the fire wasn't an accident; for some esoteric reason they aren't allowed to explain how it did start, or give anything but the vaguest clues. They won't play twenty questions or other guessing games; they really can't (or won't) explain...
     In fact their goal is simple; they want to help Roderic to redeem himself by voluntarily giving up his plans for Tim. This won't stop them helping Tim, since Roderic can't give up the plan once it's carried out, but that is simply a by-product of their main goal. They would also like him to confess to their own murder and his other crimes, but this is less important.

    Dr. W.G. Grace (The Famous Cricketer)
    BODY [5], MIND [4], SOUL [3], MAGIC [0], Athlete (Cricket) [10], Doctor [6], First Aid [8], Marksman (all projectiles) [9], Wizardry [0]
    Spells: -
    Equipment: Cricket gear, medical kit
    Quote: "If the weather stays this dry there won't be a wicket fit to play in the blasted country"
    Notes: Dr. Grace is a stern no-nonsense bearded figure who accepts hero-worship as his due; his medical techniques seem crude, but his patients always recover. He can't see ghosts or magic and won't be affected by them.

    Jimmy Black, Alan Cream, Percy Lemon (Burglars)
    Mr. Brown, Mr. Green (Debt collectors)
    BODY [5], MIND [2], SOUL [2], MAGIC [-], Brawling [7], Marksman [5], Melee weapon (knife) [7], Thief [6], Wizardry [0]
    Spells: -
    Equipment: life preserver, switchblade knife, .38 revolver, burglary tools
    Quote: "Where are the ****** jewels?"
    Notes: The burglars Fox hopes to catch. Black has a scar on his cheek, Cream is scruffy and has offensive body odour, Lemon hates his first name and never uses it. All three wear hoop-striped jerseys and carry sacks (labelled "SWAG") for loot.
     Use the same statistics for Mr. Brown and Mr. Green, debt collectors. Both look like racecourse toughs, wear business suits and bowler hats, and are armed with knuckle dusters.
     Naturally, none of them would ever dream of hurting a child.

    Agatha and Dorothy (The housemaids - ages 17, 19)
    Both BODY [3], MIND [3], SOUL [3], MAGIC [0], no game-related skills, equipment, or spells.
    Quote: "Excuse me, ma'am, your bath is ready."
    Notes: Two of several pleasant hard-working housemaids. Both girls are strongly attracted to Roderic Pellew, showing their attraction by blushing and giggling when they see him. Later both will marry local farmers and will be the grand-parents of housemaids at the school. Agatha looks very like her grand-daughter Dorothy, Dorothy like her grand-daughter Agatha.

    To contents

    THIS isn't a dangerous adventure, but it can be very difficult to resolve. To encourage the players give them 8 points each, -1 per time they go around the cycle of time change before they resolve things, with points for the nature of each school they "visit" after the first change and other consequences of their intervention:
    Much worse than the previous school-2
    A little worse than the previous school-1
    An improvement on the previous school+1
    An major improvement on the previous school+2
    Per time that Tim is killed-1
    Per time that Fox isn't recognised as heir-1
    Per time that Roderic is unmasked+2
    Per time that Roderic is killed+1

    As usual points should also be given for entertaining ideas, making the referee laugh, good role playing, and anything else that occurs to the referee.

    To contents
    Further Adventures

    ONCE Tim has been saved the children may think of trying to travel back in time for themselves. This is a VERY bad idea - in dreams they can probably only visit their own lives, or those of their closest friends and family, with endless possibilities for making things much much worse. But a sadistic referee should be able to work with that...

    RODERIC is likely to end up dead if the adventure is resolved successfully. And of course a dead murderer probably won't like what's waiting for him if he stays dead. If Tim can travel to the future to try to change things, why not Roderic? The children's nightmares could be very nasty indeed...

    PROFESSOR Pellew's Radium Ray was a failure in the past, but maybe with a little magical help it could be improved. Of course it's kept in a locked case, the radium has long since lost most of its radioactivity, and messing around with the thing is insanely dangerous, but that's never stopped adventurers yet...

    IF Arnold is used in your campaign, He won't like the idea that there are Teddy bears in the past that aren't part of His collective consciousness. When exactly did Arnold become self-aware, and why, and what can He do to make it happen earlier?

    ALL this messing around with time might have unforseen consequences; while the broad sweep of history is apparently protected, you have to wonder who's making sure that it stays protected. One possibility is that the fate of the future of humanity is largely irrelevant to the true heirs of mankind - the cats! Provided that no cats are hurt in the past, they won't have to take a paw in events... but if the children interfere with their purrfect future, the fur will start to fly.