Of more influence was a dream which contained the core of the plot.
Jane has a rare paranormal power, that of 'creator' - she can generate her own universe. In rational and unmagical Edwardian England she was quite unaware of this, but her trauma released her unconscious to produce an idealised version of her childhood, placing Jane in it as a little girl. For convenience JANE is hereafter the young woman in the sanatorium, Jane the creator, and Jane the child.
On his return to England James has been visiting JANE in the hope that his presence will awaken her to reality. The Jane element of her personality is strong enough to prevent this, but as will become apparent JANE is now trying to escape the trap in which she has caught herself.
Immediately inside the Front Door is a hallway cum corridor. On either side of the Door are windows that look onto nothing - a formless mist of uncreation - but only Visitors can see this, Inhabitants see woodland. They cannot be opened or broken. Opposite are four doors which lead to, from the left: Jane's bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen and a large sitting room. All have windows (the sitting room has two) overlooking the garden from the first floor. An arched opening connects kitchen and sitting room.
At the far end of the corridor on the right is the door to Nanny's bedroom. At the end on the left a staircase spirals up to the left, turning thru 180° to a corridor above. Doors here lead to a guest bedroom and the maid's room on the left and at the end to a large attic and lumber room, these have dormer windows.
Furniture and fittings are appropriate to 1907. Lighting is by gas lamps, the sitting room has a fireplace, the kitchen a coal fired range.
This is not of course a true enclosed universe, a certain amount of continuing creation takes place. Thus for example gas, water and waste pipes lead 'outside', food 'appears' in the larder and rubbish 'vanishes' from the dustbin.
This leads to two possible locations, as controlled by Jane. One is the region of formless mist seen through the adjacent windows, there is no gravity here and movement is not by action but by thought, as in dreams. Outside the door and door frame appear to be floating in space on their own. A CON*5% save is required: failure means the character is feeling queasy and will have to save again on making any sudden movements, fumble and the character throws up, is incapacitated and cannot take part in any discussion. Once the door has been opened anyone outside is drawn through it.
The second location is the garden, below the Kitchen window (yes Virginia, this is topologically unlikely). It is entirely possible to climb up the ivy or gutter pipes and in through a window! It is also possible to walk right round the house, which has blank walls on the other three sides.
From the upper windows a wood can be seen around the garden, beyond it is an English landscape with fields etc but this is pure illusion. These windows face East.
Immediately in front of the house is an area of lawn. Beyond this a steep slope down 1m parallel to the house has steps on the left. These lead to a croquet lawn, on the right is an orchard with apple and pear trees and a garden swing, the two are separated by a high hedge with an arched gap midway. From house to slope is 50m, from slope to bottom of the garden another 40m, and house and garden are 60m wide.
On the left of the lawn is a brick wall 2.5m high, where it adjoins the house is a trellised wrought iron gate. This leads to a vegetable and herb garden surrounded by brick wall, it has a greenhouse and a garden shed on the right, eastern side. Beyond the wall is woodland.
The inhabitants of the Garden have also been created by Jane of course. While being physically entirely 'real' they are mentally adjusted to the internal logic of this universe and consequently may seem to act oddly to outsiders, such as the PCs.
They all believe themselves to be living in England in 1904, at Croxley Hall about five miles from Newbury. Questions that contradict this belief will be met with incomprehension and, if persisted in, a growing suspicion that the questioner is ill-mannered, rude or odd. This not a problem Jane had had before (see below!) and in her present disturbed state not something she can cope with.
Jane is a pretty child aged 9 with long blonde hair. The referee should give no hint whatever that she is other than she appears.
Nanny (Margaret Peters) is in her 40's, a pleasant matron who has been with Jane since she was born. She wears her brown hair in a bun and 'sensible' clothes. She is herself 'sensible'.
Lizzie (Elizabeth Cartwright) is the maid, aged 18. Raised locally, she is slim with chestnut hair and masses of freckles, rather plain looks, inclined to day dream but good natured.
Marmalade is a tabby cat.
Rufus is a Yorkshire terrier.
Pentecost is the gardener, an old white-bearded man looking much like 'Adam the Gardener' in the Sunday Express. An opportunity for the referee to indulge in a rustic accent! He doesn't 'live' anywhere, merely appears in the Garden to work and vanishes when not needed.
From time to time trippers [people travelling between universes by gating, magic or whatever] have hit the interdimensional anomaly generated by the Garden and found themselves floating outside the Front Door instead of wherever they were intending to go. Those who enter (and apart from starving there is no alternative!) find their clothes and equipment transformed into 1904 equivalents and by an equivalent to the Jimkirk effect able to speak English [at INT*2.5%].
Visitors who are careful not to upset the inhabitants or otherwise disturb the universe have been made welcome. Any that don't conform are simply 'vanished' by Jane, to continue with their trip or return to their point of departure.
About three weeks ago the Garden trapped a different type of tripper - a Time And Relative Dimensions In Space device, described below. The device has a chameleon circuit, presently on automatic, and has disguised itself as a tree. PCs searching the orchard may find it odd to see an oak tree there...if they fail to notice it a conversation with Pentecost about strange happenings will bring a complaint from him about 'moving trees'. After a couple of days the tree will move into the middle of the croquet lawn.
The tree illusion is just visual - the object feels like a stone column 3m high with a flat top. The door is unlocked and a push will open it. When the first PC sticks his head in the referee may indulge in the famous line "it looks much bigger inside...".
This is the Master's TARDIS, which when the chameleon circuit is
in neutral looks like a Corinthian column. For reasons which will
become apparent, it is not functioning too well. Corrections on what
follows would be appreciated from Dr Who fans!
I can only recall seeing two scenes inside the Master's TARDIS: in The Keeper of Traken where the Master sat at a control panel and in a later episode which showed his control room. I have assumed however that the internal components are not dissimilar from the Doctor's better known machine.
The front door is not directly visible from the Control Room, steps lead down to the floor area around the familiar console. The decor is classical in style. The console has six sections reading clockwise from the door: drive system, guidance controls, navigational read-outs, computer, scanners and protection. At the side is an alcove with a 3-D star map projector, opposite is the exterior vision screen.
The Quiet Room is empty with glowing walls; it is situated at the null radiation point of the TARDIS, and is sometimes necessary for recuperation from the side effects of regeneration. It also negates all magic, so anyone normally linked to a magic item will feel uneasy.
The Cloisters have a formal garden with a fountain and columns resembling the TARDIS exterior. Above is an 'overcast sky' (which could even be real...).
Bedroom A has men's clothes in the wardrobe, Bedroom B women's clothes, the others are unused.
Other rooms should be easily described, if sometimes beyond the ken of RQ characters! Some at least will be locked - probably the ones that would give problems for the referee...
Like all TARDISes this one is capable of rearranging its internal topography. On the plan the link points are shown by red numbers, for example if '6' is connected to '1' then turn right after leaving the control room and the second room on the left is the Kitchen. The computer program CONNECT controls these connections. It will be seen that the rooms immediately beyond the control room are always connected to it. The present connections are 1-0, 2-3, 4-7, 5-8, 6-9. The Master was in the sauna about a month ago TARDIS time (even megalomaniacs have to take a sauna now and then) when someone sneaked into the control room and reset the connections. Trapped!
There is an emergency exit behind the Astral Map which like the Doctor's connects to the back of the exterior. It is unfortunately also inaccessible to the Master.
From the secondary control room the Master could still use most functions but he couldn't access the CONNECT program. His only hope was to lure someone into the TARDIS to do the resetting for him. On his way to a likely location the TARDIS hit the Garden Anomaly.
When the PCs (or anyone else) first enter the TARDIS the Master will be trying once more to jury rig the controls to get out of the Garden. Most of the main control room controls are inoperative: the door lever works, the vision screen shows the Garden outside, the Computer screen is lit up and shows
in English of course. The PCs have been given no ability to read English, they will have to get someone else such as Nanny to do this for them. The Master has managed to set this to respond to any key pressed, though he can't totally disconnect it. Attempts to hack the OS (by using CTRL keys for example) produce a TUT TUT... message and the PASSWORD program reloads.
The screen clears to the operating system with TAROS 3.7 at the top and a > prompt. Pressing the HELP key or typing HELP gives the message 'Please type CONNECT and press ENTER'. All other programs have been disconnected so messages like 'No such file' and 'Memory bubble inoperative' will appear if HELP is ignored.
CONNECT is a utility program with no explanation, it merely lists the present connections and asks if changes are required. Once the numbers are reset in a logical fashion (ie with only one connection for each number) the program asks EXIT? and resets connections on Y.
After a couple of minutes the Master will enter, having listened to (but not seen) the PCs from the Emergency Control Room.
The Master requires no description of course. Players will no doubt recognise him as one of the most evil men in the universe, so give their characters no excuse for thinking the same! His primary concern is simply to escape from the Garden, and he will not be hostile to anyone unless threatened. The PCs may even be able to persuade him to render them assistance, by reading certain writing to be described later or by lending them items from his extensive wardrobe. He will believe unless convinced otherwise that it is the TARDIS that is at fault, somehow sabotaged by his mysterious visitor, and will remain inside, on subsequent visits the PCs will find the control panel increasingly festooned with wires and electronic widgits. Now and again the TARDIS will make its familiar screeches and vanish, only to rematerialise a few seconds later somewhere else in the garden - to the annoyance of Pentecost!
The Master can use the chameleon circuit to make the TARDIS exterior smaller (eg the grandfather clock) and it could be carried out into another Universe (see below) should this be suggested to him. Operating it will still drag it back into the Garden however as the anomaly extends for some distance around.
The presence of the TARDIS has destabilised the Garden and it's boundaries have linked up to other universes. Presently there are four of these, reached by walking through the encircling wood in one of cardinal compass directions. The actual interface is about 100m from the Garden proper, but it cannot be detected by any means available to the PCs.
A week ago the first strangers strayed across a boundary. Jane cannot 'vanish' these visitors, nor indeed can she close the boundary again while they remain in the Garden.
The PCs may assume that the other Universes are simply part of the Garden creation. Jane does have fairy story books...they are not Jane's however, and she has no control over them. It may also occur to players that these are all Fantasy universes derived from books. There is a reason for this but it lies outside the scope of this scenario...
...which lies to either side, in front is open country, pasture land with about 1km away to the NE a hamlet with some 20 dwellings. A cart track road leads N-S through it, and immediately N is a mill on a stream.
This is indeed the hunting ground of Robin Hood, and if the PCs venture into the forest along the road they will encounter him and his merry men in Lincoln Green. Being foreigners, they will be robbed (and filled with arrows if they resist). The villagers speak Middle English, plainly related to English but difficult to understand: say -50% on comprehension rolls. They would know that 'Notnum' is a day's journey north, 'Lunnun' is away south, King Richard on the throne but away in foreign lands. If the PCs are wearing armour, the villagers will assume them to be sheriff's men and will deny all knowledge of outlaws!
From this universe came some gypsies a week ago - 4 men, 3 women, 7 children. They have camped in the vegetable garden, delighted at plants that regenerate themselves overnight, and have ignored Pentecost's protests. The gypsies only speak Romany and poor Middle English.
Gypsies didn't arrive in England until the 15th Century. Robin Hood's most likely progenitor was in Barnsley in the 14th Century. Anyone who notices this gets 5 Brownie Points!..this is a fantasy world.
From this Universe three days ago a unicorn came to the garden. Looking down from her bedroom window Jane saw Lizzie in her night gown mount the creature and ride off. Nanny thinks Jane has made this up, and assumes Lizzie to have run off in fear of the gypsies, Jane will however mention the incident if the PCs ask about unusual events.
Across a grassy plain a castle can be seen about 2km away - 20 minutes walk. If the PCs choose to make for it they will be approached by a small herd of unicorns, some two dozen, one of which carries Lizzie. In this universe it is not uncommon for unicorns to attract youngsters and live in a kind of symbiosis with them until after a few years the ensorcellment wanes and the human returns to its own kind. There is a strong empathic (though not telepathic) link between unicorns and their riders.
It will be obvious that something is wrong with Lizzie, she is clinging to the unicorn's mane, is in a dazed state and while answering questions in a faint voice will say "no, I don't want to go", try to sit up, slide off instead and burst into tears.
The spell of the unicorn has been partially broken by hunger: Lizzie has no idea how to find food outside of gardens and pantries, and this particular herd happens to have no other humans at present to teach her (unicorns are no more intelligent than other horses). Aware of her distress the unicorns will allow the PCs to 'rescue' her provided they made no aggressive moves. She would be reluctant to go despite her weak condition, unless the PCs can convince her she can return when she feels better. These unicorns are herbivorous animals: only the lead stallion would attack and then only to defend the herd.
The castle, if investigated, will be seen to be overgrown with brambles and ivy, with shrubs, bushes and young trees springing up around it. It is more in the Disney/Ludwig II style than medieval, with conical roofed towers.
Anyone entering will feel uneasy, as though they are being watched
- this is actually a device to keep out animals. Naturally there are
sleeping people everywhere, including guards at the gate, king, queen
and courtiers in the banqueting hall and the princess in her bed.
It may occur to hack & looters that they can walk off with as much of the palace's treasure as they like. This is true (here and elsewhere) but such items will vanish when the PCs leave.
On the far side of the wood an old paved road runs N-S, beyond it the ground rises steeply to a range of bare mountains. To the left a stone bridge crosses a river bed with an apparently much diminished stream at the bottom running southwestwards into the woods.
This is North Ithilien - see the first few pages of 'Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit' for details - some years before the War of the Ring. It is a debatable and largely deserted land.
A band of uruks, twice as many as the PCs, stumbled on the Garden yesterday towards evening. After a skirmish the gypsies barred the gate against them, arming themselves with garden implements. The orc leader having found no easy entry to the house decided to wait for a while before taking further action, and the orcs are presently gathered around a fire in the middle of the croquet lawn.
Here lies JANE's hope - she has managed to connect the Garden to the woods behind her Sanatorium. Across a wide lawn will be seen a large three story Victorian building, a Scan roll would notice that the upper windows are barred. There are French windows in the centre, within in a sitting room are several harmless elderly patients.
If the PCs behave aggressively and display weapons they will be treated with alarm and hysteria from the inmates. The staff will probably regard them as potentially dangerous lunatics! There is a revolver and a shotgun locked in the Principal's Office on the ground floor. Should violence ensue the staff will summon the police of course, using the telephone in the Office. A car from Oxford will arrive in 20 minutes, with firearms if thought necessary.
JANE is in an unlocked room on the second floor - violent patients are on the third floor (any captured PCs would be locked up there). She gives every indication of being in a deep trance, capable of sitting and walking but motionless if left alone. By her bedside is a photograph of her with her fiancée in 1916.
At the opposite side of the Sanatorium a drive through rhodedendrum bushes leads down to a set of iron gates opening onto a country lane. Turning right (south) after a short distance the road passes a farm, and just beyond a view from a rise shows no habitation for some distance. To the left 1km away is the village of Much Padding, with church, pub, post office/store etc. Staying at the pub whilst on a visit to JANE is James. If the PCs appear during visiting hours he will be at the Sanatorium, with his car outside.
If there are 'escaped lunatics' at large James will certainly delay his departure until things are quiet again.
Magic is a chancy affair on Earth, so -30% on all magic chances.
A Footnote: One problem is that PCs may try to wander deeper into these Universes 'off-map'. The referee should create threats for those that try this: the screech of a Nazgul in Middle-earth, etc. The Master would certainly refuse to venture into these Universes without his Tardis
First ask the players what their characters normally wear at night (if anything!), then set the scene....the Player Characters awake one night to find themselves floating outside the Front Door. They have been summoned by Jane to clear her garden of horrid people, and she will not let them out by the Front Door until they have done so. When they pass through the Door they find they are wearing WWI infantry kit.
Uniform=1pt armour. Tin helmet=6pts from above only, roll luck to see if head hit strikes helmet. Bayonet=dagger, fitted=short spear (but INT*3 roll required to see that it can be fitted!). Rifle reversed=club. The rifles (.303s) have no bullets, but as noted previously guns don't work in the Garden anyway.
Nanny will be under the impression that the PCs are soldiers. If they search for extra weapons they will find kitchen knives (=daggers) and in the attic a successful search roll would produce a bow, ten arrows and an archery target under some old curtains.
It should be plain that charging out into the dark against unknown odds is not sensible, particularly with unfamiliar weaponry. Hack & Slayers who always expect 'fair (=easy) fights' may not be accustomed to rational thinking of this sort of course...the orcs will attack without provocation once they are sure they outnumber the PCs. If the PCs do nothing within a couple of hours the orcs will pile wood against the Front Door and try to burn it down. An hour's blaze would char the Door enough for it to be broken down. While the orcs are not afraid of a straight fight 'elvish magic' might well scare them off, as would incapacitating or killing their leader.
JANE has managed to place several clues around the house.
(1) Jane has four dolls. While 'Teddy' and 'Pollyanna' (a rag doll) are originals, 'James' the toy soldier and 'Nasty Mr Jones', a man in a white coat, are additions. If asked, Jane will say that Nasty Mr Jones locks the other dolls away but James comes to rescue them.
(2) On the wall of the sitting room is a group photograph of soldiers: the caption says '1st Bn Gren Guards' and lists the officers, with Capt James Fortescue amongst them. It is dated Febuary 1915.
(3) In a trunk in the attic is bundle of letters. The earliest is dated September 1914, the last July 1916. They are plainly love letters, from 'J' to 'J', and are indeed from JANE, covering James' period in the trenches. The final item in the bundle is the telegram: "His Majesty's Secretary of State regrets to have to inform you that Capt James Fortescue, 1st Bn The Grenadier Guards has been reported killed in action..."
() The Garden Inhabitants cannot see any writing on items 2 & 3 as they refer to post 1905 events.
While Jane has caused Jane to summon the PCs to restore the Garden to it's previous tranquillity, this is not going to be possible. To resolve the instability the 'three Janes' must be reunited.
One method would be to put Jane and JANE into the same Universe. Since this creates a paradox the Third Law of Conservation of Universes would apply and the smaller Universe (the Garden) would have to adjust - Jane would vanish and JANE would wake up. Jane will resist being taken out of the Garden, but only by normal physical means, kicking and screaming.
If JANE wakes in England then the Garden will start to collapse, the PCs if present have about ten minutes to get out via the Front Door (or into the Tardis). The collapse will be progressively dramatic: trees bare, sky flickering, grass withering, house roof falling in, claps of thunder, etc. The inhabitants are also doomed, falling apart like horror movie extras. If the PCs are still in the Garden when it finally vanishes they are dead. Even if they do get out a moralistic referee should point out that they have just destroyed a perfectly nice (albeit small) Universe.
If JANE was in the Garden then she will with time assume control of her Universe and become a real Creator. Jane can send the PCs home at once with no problems.
Taking James into the Garden would be dangerous for him, since he threatens Jane's existence - the Inhabitants would be hostile and 'accidents' might start happening. He would recognise the house, having visited it's prototype several times with JANE (in 1919 it is owned by cousins of JANE).
The NPCs can be found here.