While exploring the market district of [Town Name], notice a particular shop getting swarmed by people, all of them pushing and jockeying their way through the small doorframe. Above the door is a sign that says “No Place Like Gnome: Toys & Games.”
If your party decides to investigate, they will need to push their way into the store.
Once inside, they will see the poor shopkeeper, unsurprisingly a gnome, standing atop his counter, trying his best to control the crowd despite his meek voice and short stature. Everyone is fighting over a few identical boxes, wrestling them out of each other’s hands and throwing silver and gold at the gnome.
If your party has an intimidating enough character, they could simply use their presence to try and instill order. Otherwise, you might need to just endure the storm; once all of the coveted toys have been grabbed, the mob of entitled Karens and Kens will disperse as they move on to the next toy shop for more available product.
The shopkeeper, Mr. Hobie Hasborough, will apologize about all that and explain that a new toy, Sir Tater Face, has been flying off his store shelves for the past week now, leading to nothing but chaos at his and other toy shops across the country. If your party asks about the toy, he will instruct you to lock the door.
Hopping down and rummaging behind the counter, Hobie will produce a single item. It’s a small crate with “Titan Toys Official Product” stamped on the side alongside the emblem of a tiny crown. He will explain that this one, unlike the others, was defective, and so he hadn’t put it out with the others.
Dumping out the contents of the crate will reveal a singular large potato and an assortment of plastic/wood/metal (depending on the manufacturing capabilities of your world) accessories: puppy-dog eyes, large and small noses, arms, a grinning smile, etc.
He will will show how the toy works by popping in some tiny shoes into the potato and demonstrating how Sir Tater Face can “walk” across the counter.
He will use this time to complain a bit about these fads, gesturing to his many other wondrous toys that he produces right here in shop. For the time being, those toys are just neglected; kids seem to only have eyes for taters.
If your party asks about its defect, Hobie will show you a strange marking on the side of the potato. Any detection spells on this, or the potato as a whole, will determine that it is, in fact, magical.
As a token of his appreciation for helping calm the crowd (or, if your party did nothing to help, then for listening to him complain about the current state of the toy industry), Hobie will give your party the defective Sir Tater Face.
If your party decides to assemble Sir Tater Face, they will trigger a special event once they have assembled eyes, nose, mouth, and at least one arm.
Suddenly, the potato, enchanted with a modified “Magic Mouth” spell, will begin to “come alive” and speak (its mouth animating and everything). It will share this message:
“Please help us. Russetville in trouble. Economy collapsing. Potato fields being raided in the night. We can’t catch them on our own. Need professional help.”
The arm, serving as a compass, will then point off into the direction of the town. If your party decides to answer the call, they can ask around and make their way to the tiny village of Russetville.
A Ruckus in Russetville
When you arrive in Russetville, you will notice that, despite the charming feel of the small town, everyone seems will frightened or depressed. One of the villagers will see your party, exclaim “Oh my, you’re perfect!” and run to fetch the mayor to come and speak with you.
The mayor will appear, looking strangely excited to see such a heroic-looking group, and ask if you’re here to help. If you mention the potato, the mayor will look very excited that the plan to send an enchanted distress potato worked.
He will explain that, in the night, their potato fields are being raided by thieves. This is problematic because the potatoes are the major (and really only) export of their small town. In fact, they’re known for their potatoes far and wide because the pH levels in the soil and the rainfall in the area is perfect for producing durable veggies.
The mayor will also ask the party if they ran into any trouble getting here, explaining that they’ve all essentially been prevented from leaving the town or sending letters to those in the outside world without surveillance; strange constructs patrol the far perimeter of the town.
If your party decides to help, then they will need to lie in wait somewhere near the village’s potato fields on the edges of town until nightfall.
Around midnight, three low-level thieves will appear with potato sacks and shovels. Your party can attempt to scare them off/intimidate them or fight them. Combat would be pretty simple here; they may resort to throwing potatoes if they’ve already started collecting them by the time the confrontation begins, or they can alternatively use their shovel or small knives that they keep at their sides. Either way, whether it be from them dropping it or you looting it from their bodies, you will find a small token in one of the thieves’ pockets: a brass coin emblazoned with a tiny crown and the words “Titan Toys.”
If you show this token to the mayor, he will say that he thinks it’s the name of the toy-making factory just a few miles away beyond the hill.
Titan Toys HQ
If your party decides to visit Titan Toys HQ, they will be welcomed warmly by a friendly construct standing outside the main gate. He will thank you for dropping by but apologize that their will be no factory tours today.
If your party shows the token to the construct, it will accept the token and offer you a free paper crown, inscribed with the words “Titan Toys”, as a reward.
Your party can, of course, demand to go inside or fight the construct to do so. They can also demand to speak to the boss. If they choose the latter, the construct will bow his head as though listening to some cast “Message” and then allow them inside.
The inside of the factory will be filled with constructs working on various machines, assembling an assortment of toys. A pile of what you can only assume to be stolen potatoes sits in the far corner. There are also an assortment of crates that can provide half and full cover, already filled with toys ready to be shipped.
The boss of the company will appear, also smiling warmly, and welcome you to his not-so-little operation.
If your party confronts him about the thieves, he will admit that its unsavory business, but the potatoes on the edges of Russetville are far too perfect for his Sir Tater Face line of toys, and no other spuds will do.
If your party demands that he stops and returns the stolen potatoes (or, at the very least, compensate the villagers), he will scoff and say that his way of doing things is netting him much higher profits and that there’s no way he’s changing his business model.
However, the boss will promise that, as soon as this trend dies down, he will discontinue Sir Tater Faces and move on to something else, leaving Russetville and their produce alone.
If your party says they won’t stand for this, then he will try to bribe them:
- A small cut of profits (250 gp)
- Some stock in Titan Toys
- A limited run of custom action figures that resemble the party members
Your party can, of course, accept any of these options. If they choose the actions figures, then they will be delivered later once they’re assembled, each enchanted to recite a single phrase that is most befitting, or most often said, by that select party member.
If your party rejects these options, then the boss will say that it’s “most unfortunate” and that he can’t let you leave here alive and ruin his really good thing.
This will trigger combat. Your party will need to fight against 3 toy-making constructs. This battle should be significantly more challenging than the 3 thieves from earlier. The constructs might also be armed with unique toy-themed weaponry:
- A ball-and-paddle but the ball is covered in sharp spikes
- A yo-yo that is enchanted with fire magic (play on the Fireball Yomega line of yo-yos)
- Something like playdough that can be thrown down at party members’ feet, restricting their movement
Defeating the constructs and grappling/capturing/defeating the Titan Toys boss will end the combat.
Once the problem has been resolved, you can return to Russetville to inform the mayor that the people no longer need to suffer or live in fear of thieves/constructs.
The mayor and the rest of the village will be incredibly grateful and thank you for saving them/their town. He won’t offer much in the way of financial compensation but, as a reward, he will give the party a special artifact from the town called the Tuber Tophat. This item looks like a battered brown top hat with potato leaves sprouting from the top. Its special ability can be activated once per day; when worn, the hat will cause the character to spin like a drill and burrow, without inflicting any harm, into the earth beneath them (provided that they are standing on soil). While underground, the wearer can breathe easily and can peek around with their eyes above the ground. Any passerby, unless they watched the magic take effect, will only see what looks like a harmless potato plant jutting up from the ground.