A Calico Critters Christmas from Under the Floorboards
Celebrate Christmas with a perilous Calico Critters expedition inspired by the tabletop RPG, Under the Floorboards.
Merry Christmas! Regardless of what you celebrate, I hope you experience peace and happiness as this year winds down. With more time on my hands, I did what I do best… Absolute nonsense. Ha ha! I received Under the Floorboards a little while back and never had a reason to play. Then, a little idea took shape and I knew just what to do. Enjoy!
I absolutely loved The Borrowers and couldn’t resist this RPG! Just letting my imagination get creative with who might be living beneath my own floorboards was a simple sort of joy. Combine that with some holiday fun, and I was ready to wake up as early as I could to make this happen!
Exploring the System
In a nutshell, this is a very narrative-based experience with minimal numbers and dice rolls. A character sheet is very small, and only two 6-sided dice are needed.
There are tables with name suggestions, including some wonderful surnames! These Floorboard Folk take their names from their original locations. Adorable and clever.
Although there are no classes, the rulebook includes several archetypes and sample characters.
Inclusivity is excellent with pronouns, differently-abled individuals, and all sorts of appearances. Huge plus!
Moving Away from the Floorboard Folk
I just finished mentioning how much I love the idea of these individuals… But I decided to go down my own little path! If you know me, you absolutely knew what I was going to do with this system. Yet at the same time, that doesn’t take anything away from what’s included. I highly recommend playing as the Floorboard Folk and actual people.
My Calico Critters collection has been languishing for some time, so this immediately sparked an idea in my mind. The ability to act out the expedition also helped make that decision! I hope this silly adventure brings some holiday cheer!
Beneath a seldom-used stair, just behind the too-loud creaking, lived the Squeaky-Stair family. Their world was literally under the floorboards in all the tiny, lost places.
Christmastime was a dangerous time for an expedition, what with the unknown daily patterns of the Biggies.
Yet the family was in need of a journey. For it was Christmas Eve and the carefully chosen gifts were missing! Alas, they had been stashed with the ornaments.
No one thought the decorations would be collected this year. Now, it was imperative to recover their special toys.
Up and Up as a Team
Gwilym and Clemdeary were thrilled to see the strange bug catcher device still resting in a forgotten corner.
The slick surface provided no grip, yet young Jalc was a practiced climber. His parents boosted him up with little effort. Up he hopped, peering about for any Biggies.
Sponderisa and her father wore borrowed bags from the Plug-Socket family. They always made a good team and had a plan in place to work together to gather everything.
With everyone safely at the top, home was already too far. There was no turning back now, and little time for talk.
The Endless Expanse
The living room. One of the worst places for the family, due to the open areas. Hiding places were few, but there wasn’t another simple path to the Christmas tree.
Bright lights helped guide the way, though it would be an ominous journey out in the open. Gwilym tapped his son reassuringly on the shoulder. This was the moment!
Quickly and silently, the little feet padded across the floor. The tree loomed closer and closer in sight…
They made it past the vent and to safety. There were no Biggies about to notice the not-so-stealthy advance.
Sighting the Goal
On the run, it was Clemdeary who spied the cherished raccoon ornament in the tree. This was good, for the jolly fellow was less than halfway up the towering greenery.
Hidden in his little bag were the gifts for the little ones. How foolish to leave those behind. Never trust the Biggies!
All was silent as the Squeaky-Stairs caught their breath underneath the Christmas tree. Now to formulate a plan…
Sponderisa’s scouting the previous day was, alas, incorrect. One of the Biggies must have had it in her mind to organize and rearrange. What a terrible inconvenience!
Working on a New Plan
The way up was no longer directly below the raccoon but on the exact opposite side. Jalc wondered if they might make use of the beaded decorations on the tree skirt.
Gwilym agreed that they would make nice toys, but the loss was bound to be noticed. This tree was off-limits.
Meanwhile, Clemdeary and Sponderisa talked about what it would take to make it into the tree and traverse the wide spaces between ornaments and branches. Tricky, tricky.
Even going up the middle of the tree looked to be impossible. They just slid back down the plush fabric!
Up, Up, and Away
Noises from the rest of the house brought the family back to the matter at hand. They had precious little time to succeed, and all of the lights made it more dangerous.
Taking it upon himself to scout the way, Gwilym found the lone way up the tree: Onto a stack of game boxes piled high. How kind of someone to have made actual stairs!
It was quite the effort, though he knew Sponderisa was more agile. Good thing the velociraptor wasn’t real!
He reached the top, ready to start scaling the tree as soon as his daughter joined him. So far, so good…
Without warning, Sponderisa lost her footing on the slippery boxes. She tumbled down, upsetting some smaller games along the way. They all froze.
Sure enough, the steady footfalls of a Biggie began to approach. They were in trouble! Clemdeary sprang into action, ensuring that Jalc was safe and out of sight.
Her daughter was another matter. Shocked by the fall, she could barely support herself. Luckily, she knew to hide.
Gwilym tucked himself behind a thick tuft of tree branches. They all held their breath. Thud. Thud. THUD.
The Biggie righted the boxes, then quickly disappeared without a thorough investigation. It was over.
Each emerged with alert eyes and ears. Clemdeary tended to Sponderisa. Her arm ached, and this was no time for her to be on an unsteady pair of legs. Jalc jumped into action.
He and Gwilym used hand signals to work out the next part of the plan. No one else was to climb the boxes, and they seemed like a precarious way to return.
They needed a way to move the injured scout, along with a way to get Gwilyn down. But how? Jalc risked a shout!
A Clever Idea
He remembered the details of his sister’s earlier report. Although the room was much more organized, there was still something across the way that could be useful.
Without a second thought, Jalc glanced all over before racing as quickly as he could across the rather cold floor!
His plan hinged on a single prize: A piece of bouncy packing material. It reminded him of the great fun they enjoyed the previous summer when it was in great supply.
Thankfully, none had been discarded during the Biggie’s strange cleaning streak. Now, if only he could reach it!
In a little recess near the boxes, Jalc stopped to catch his breath and do a little dance. He could scarcely believe his luck as he saw that the perfect piece had already escaped.
All he needed to offer was a gentle tug to bring it down to the ground. Not even a whisper of sound. Jalc grinned.
This was simple to drag across the hardwoods. Sponderisa could be moved safely. Even better was the bounciness. He knew just how to help get his father out of the tree!
The clever fellow gathered the material together and awaited a signal from Clemdeary for the all-clear.
At the same time, Gwilym knew he needed to act quickly. There had already been an investigation by a Biggie. Any other noise and the consequences could be disastrous.
He hoisted himself up the first branch and began to climb. Nothing was steady, however. Confound this artificial tree! He thought back to his boyhood days of the outdoors.
But this was no time for nostalgia. The small lights were hot to the touch. Gwilym needed to concentrate.
Staying balanced was difficult physically and mentally. He had no idea how his daughter might be doing after her fall.
A Visit to Santa Claus
The first branches were treacherous but traversable. As Gwilym looked ahead, he hit a dead end. Traveling inwards along the branch might make sense, but he could get lost.
Silly to think of a climb being so disorienting, yet the lights dazzled him and each branch looked like the next.
All he knew was the general direction of the ornament. And to get there, he had to keep moving. Onward!
Climbing over the cardboard book was rather scary. More than once, Gwilym felt his feet losing their grip. He would need to pack proper shoes for the next expedition!
Just a Tad too Big
Indeed, the right sort of shoes actually showed up along the next tree branch! Unfortunately for Gwilym, they were at least 3 sizes too large and not exactly his style.
The sturdy footing gave him a chance to reorient himself and take a look around. This wasn’t too far up the tree, but the ground was still quite a distance away. And down.
Gwilym took a moment to catch his breath. He peered down to find Clemdeary, but the greenery was too thick.
He could feel time slipping by, which was never a good sign. The Biggies could arrive at any moment!
Off to the Races
Clemdeary was nowhere to be seen, for she was hard at work with Jalc. They moved across the floor to the other side of the tree, Sponderisa in tow and protesting.
Her arm needed a little tending to, though she was certain there was no need to keep her off her feet. What if danger approached? What if her father needed her up there?
The pair ignored her protests, knowing she would win any discussion they paid any heed to. Best to ignore her!
Sponderisa grew sullen, more for the fact that she missed her chance to climb the Christmas tree for her first time.
A Makeshift Swing
Gwilym continued to travel from branch to branch. Once, he slipped dangerously close to falling. Yet ever onward he pressed. It was all up to him to bring Christmas home!
Near another yawning gap, he paused to think about how he could reach the other side. The branches here were a tangled mess and far too hard to follow properly.
If only… Yes, it had to be done. With a short leap, Gwilym flew through the air to grab onto a mouse. So close…
Success! He swung across the chasm, landing neatly among the branches on the other side. Such excitement!
The Best Sight
After such a daring maneuver, Gwilym decided to climb the nearest branch to peer out. He knew vaguely where he was, but was the desired ornament up or down?
As his head popped up, he discovered that he was in the perfect spot to reach the bag! His smile said it all.
Ever so carefully, he reached inside and collected the toys. Getting them in his bag was very difficult. Without another to join him, he had to jam everything together.
Yet it all went off without an incident. The raccoon barely moved, thanks to its cozy spot amidst a bundle of greens.
Taking One Last Chance
Clemdeary’s urgent whispering reached Gwilym just as he started to wonder what to do. He inched himself out along the nearest branch to gaze down. And he gulped.
So that was Jalc’s solution… Something to break a fall. A very, very long fall. Gwilym started to do calculations in his mind. It was doable without any serious injury.
The probability of injury was still fairly high, though. It all required a very careful and perfect fall. With some style.
Gwilym would have done more to foolproof the idea. Only he heard a Biggie in the distance. It was now or never!
A Long Glance Down
For all his bravery, though, Gwilym couldn’t pull himself to let go. The packing material was sound, and Jalc had even folded it over for extra protection. Just… That fall!
He could feel the toys jostling about in the bag. Would they get dislodged? Could they change his trajectory and make him miss his mark? Why was this the best idea?!
Gwilym closed his eyes for a moment. He drowned out all sounds and focused on all that mattered.
More than anything, he rediscovered the trust he had in himself and his family. He could do this. And so he let go…
Safely on the Ground
The good news was that Gwilym landed safely. Clemdeary was thrilled to find him unscathed. Every expedition was overflowing with dangers. The separation was terrible.
Sponderisa whispered a mile a minute with questions about the climb and what sorts of ornaments existed.
There was only one problem, and Jalc was looking at it. In his hesitation, Gwilym accidentally pulled an ornament with him to the edge of the branch. It, too, fell!
With more Christmas luck, it simply sunk into the air pocket and was no worse for the wear. Where to put it?
A Sleighride Home
Sponderisa was treated to a rather festive journey home! They decided to take the silver ball with them to hide until the tree was put away. The Biggies wouldn’t notice it.
Gwilym ensured it stayed balanced as the so-called reindeer took off across the floor. This took a little more effort than before. Ornaments were far from light!
Yet they made it back to the entrance beneath the stairs. Home at last! It was naptime partway through the day.
As it turned out, Sponderisa had nothing more than a few bruises. She was also all in favor of proper footwear, too!
Christmas Morning Joy
Nestled in their beds, the tiny trio of Cydril, Veronetty, and Maunnie never knew of the expedition. Their tiny minds were always preoccupied with food and fun!
In their cozy home, Christmas morning was a wonderful occasion. The small toys meant everything to them!
Cydril was amazed by a duck that could follow him about. Veronetty loved her new friend, who had sugar-dipped ears! And Maunnie never had a better toy to cuddle.
The rest of the family enjoyed the day together, looking back on all their expeditions and the ones yet to come.
This was such a joy to set up and put together! I only rolled the dice about 5-6 times, yet this was a perfect way to celebrate and get the Calico Critters out of storage.
Whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate, and no matter what time of year it is, I hope this story made you smile!
Thank you to everyone who makes board games and tabletop roleplaying games so amazing. This community is the best, and I don’t say that lightly. You’re wonderful!
Also, for a little fun, if you look carefully at some of these photos, you might see my reflection. Professional. Ha ha!
Continue the Conversation
Did you enjoy this very random and silly story? Would you want to see more like this? The Calico Critters will certainly stick around and make some more regular appearances with my board games. I think the most important part of playing games is having fun. This was a great way to celebrate Christmas for me. A very Merry Christmas to you, too!