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People believe that farmers, smiths, and soldiers are what keep a society running. But some unpopular professions have a great influence on the development of a city. Toymakers are a great example of this.
Good old Howard Green, the town’s toymaker, spends his days in his workshop. He is very apt at handcrafting. He has a steady hand and the necessary tools in his shop to do what he desires. Dolls, wooden horses, puppets, Mr. Green can do anything.
Howard has acquired many skills in his life as a toymaker. He knows how to work wood and clay. He has made toys all his life. His house is a working shrine. He can make progress or continue an ongoing project at any time of the day because both levels in his house offer the possibility to work. Despite his craftsmanship, Mr. Green is a disorganized person who cannot find the time or the resolve to finish a project before starting the next one. The shop and his home are littered with incomplete toys he abandoned.
Most children in town are fond of him. Howard makes sure to remember every child’s name to show his interest in their preferences and tastes. He is very meticulous and keeps a record of every transaction he has ever done in his shop; therefore, it is not hard for him to keep track of who bought what, or when.
Howard tries to lead a peaceful life in his shop. But being a toymaker is not as calm and quiet as it seems. Even a pacific toymaker can be a partaker in an adventure.
Goblins Just Wanna Have Fun
A group of goblins raids the toy maker’s shop. The steal many of his toys and come back for more. The adventurers can negotiate with the goblins, but most attempts of negotiation go south. The goblins might accept a bribe once but they are back for more toys the day after. They cannot be reasoned with. The adventurers must face them off sooner or later.
The Voodoo Job
Howard wants to create a doll with specific pieces he does not have. He needs someone to retrieve these items for him. The doll requires algae from the river, a piece of clothing from a woman that leaves nearby, and a chuck of hair of this woman as well. This is a voodoo doll Howard is creating for someone else. This person threatened the toymaker and forced him to make the doll. He means to use it to charm the woman and make her love him. Only under duress does Green reveal who the buyer is. The adventurers can catch him when he comes to the shop to retrieve the doll.
The Magic Paint
It has been a couple of moons since several toys in town have shown magical properties. Some fly, others get hot to the touch, some talk or move. People are scared and they start drawing precipitated conclusions. They brand Howard a dark sorcerer and return his toys. Howard’s shop is full of magical toys and he does not know what happened or what to do with them. All this magic is the result of the paint he used. Last time he mixed some colored mushrooms to his homemade paint, he did not notice the plants had magical properties. 3d6 toys are aggressive and behave like tiny animated objects. Other than destroying them, the only way to stop them is with a dispel magic spell.
Howard is sick and the town begs the adventurers to help him make toys. The children’s festival is near and it would be a catastrophe if the toys are not ready by then. Howard can give instructions and provide the materials needed for the toys.
The adventurers face this skill challenge five ability checks. Once the player describes their actions, they must make a Strength, Dexterity, or Intelligence ability check depending on the nature of their action. After 3 successes out of five checks, the adventurers’ toys bring joy to the children and the town rewards them how they can. If the checks fail, the town experiences a very grim day and the adventurers leave with frowning children looking at their backs.
Another toymaker in town arrived. Howard has nothing against this individual but the people in town feel his presence like an intrusion. The apparent usurper is, in reality, a demon in disguise. It creates toys and trinkets and gives them for free or for very low prices. Such toys are charmed and brainwash the buyers so they let the demon eat them afterward. Howard can assist the adventurers in identifying which toys are his and which come from the other toymaker.
Howard reports a crime to the City Watch. Last night, a group of masked halflings entered his store with knives and took some of his merchandise. They stole more than thirty different toy pieces; Howard has a list of all the things missing. Upon investigating, the adventurers realize the group of halflings are human children. They organized the coup themselves and got their weapons from their mothers’ kitchens. The hoard of toys is in a barn close to the village wall. Three spoiled children attempt to defend their newfound treasures with kitchen implements.
The cobbled stones from the town streets give way to rough packed soil in the alleys between buildings. Howard’s wagon is stationed outside his shop. He uses this wagon to help him transport his wares whenever he has deliveries to make or to bring supplies home. Green grass patches flank the porch of his shop.
The two-story building is more than enough for the solitary toymaker. His personal chamber is the only actual room in his house. The rest of the alcoves are ateliers, studios, or part of the shop.
A set of stairs with wooden railing at the porch goes up five-feet. Howard likes to stand on his porch and see the people pass by whenever he is not working on a project.
3. Main Shop
Howard has two square wooden tables that display finished examples of his toys and trinkets. Glass tops on golden frames cover the tables. One of the glass panels is broken on the north side. A table by the east corner shows a couple of dolls and a notebook. A circular table to the west holds a small stringed instrument.
4. Dolls Exhibit
Two long wooden tables hug the walls of this room. By the north wall, the table has a few wands and a mirror. The larger table shows fabric dolls and puppets of varied quality, some of them appear similar to sock puppets while others have porcelain heads. Many pages with notes, drawings, and descriptions lie scattered around. This room emanates a cold, unsettling atmosphere.
Howard is often at the front shop. He put a small collection of precious stones on his counter for display. A cash register helps Howard administer his shop along with his journal, his notes, and stock control. Howard designed the cash register apparatus, it is a marvel of mechanical engineering that makes him proud. He keeps track of the things he buys and sells. Materials, fabrics, or any other supply he purchases are recorded on his books. By the northwest corner, there is a table with a chessboard and some dolls.
6. Back Shop
Howard likes to work in different parts of his shop. Almost every part of his house has a work table. He uses the back shop for the assembling of dolls and puppets. He then proceeds with detailing and decoration. Balls of yarn and needles rest near the edge of the table. Cloth limbs and torsos lay separated on the table, as if someone dismembered them, only Howard has not yet sewn them.
A few barrels and boxes fill the scenery before the stairs. A large wooden shelf is beside the backdoor of the shop. It contains several wooden sticks, cloths, and other toy pieces Howard needs for his daily projects.
8. Second Floor Landing
Howard is not much of a cleaning person. All his shop is littered with the remains of threads, sawdust, wood, porcelain pieces, and paint. He sometimes sweeps the first floor since his customers shop there, but he allows his real messy self to reign on the second story of his house, where only his feet walk.
This is where Howard creates his designs. A large drawing table shows scrolls of sketches and plans for new toys. A mallet and chisel share the table with a couple of brushes. Paint of various colors complements the view. Long planks on the floor hint at the toymaker’s wood carving or carpentry skills as well.
10. Howard’s Chamber
A large double bed dominates the room. Its blue linens match the pillowcases. Two small tables at each side of the bed hold notes and papers. Howard’s predilect doll rests on the bed, its name is Howy. There is a desk in his room. The open book and notes hint that Howard often sits at this desk. Two identical wardrobes contain Howard’s personal belongings. A large wooden chest at the foot of the bed contains Howard’s most precious toys which he could never muster the courage to sell.
Doors. The entrance and the back doors have simple locks, unlike the doors inside the house.
Flooring. All the toy shop and the second floor have wood floor tiles. This helps keep the building warm during the winter.
Smells. Strong smells of varnish and paint fill the atmosphere. When Howard does not work on the decoration of one of his dolls or toys for a few days, the shop has a pleasant wood smell.
Howard’s Toys. The chest in the main room contains a series of personal toys. These are the ones Howard had when he was a young child. The only one of these toys that he keeps outside the chest is Howy.