"It has wheels and you turn the crank and the wheels spin around!"
"But what good is it?" I asked reasonably.
Caius reacted as if I had kicked sand in his face. "What do you mean, what good is it?" he said sullenly. "It has wheels and you turn the crank and the wheels spin around."
"Oh," I said, airily, so as to demonstrate my total understanding of his pathetic little toy. "Kid stuff."
(Who Loves Octavia Pranddishaw?, Chapter Two)
Regardless of their origin, the Pranddishaws are extremely dangerous. Solving what Rose calls "the tripartite mystery" would be an arduous task with little reward; the family’s usual reaction to nosy snoopers is dismemberment.
Who Was She, Again?
The PCs, investigating some matter or other, find their main lead or contact suddenly dry up. The telephone number they were given has been disconnected, and none of them can remember just who they were searching for.
The contact is a victim of the Pranddishaws, now shuffled off this mortal coil, and the universe has scabbed over their absence. Determining just what happened, and why, and how it relates to their current goal, is a mission which could keep PCs occupied for weeks.
Who Were We, Again?
Likewise, the Pranddishaws could be used to kick off an entire campaign. PCs wake up in pools of their own blood, badly injured and with no memory of recent events. When they dial 911, the operator ignores them. The ATM eats their card. Their loved ones don’t recognize them, and become angry and frightened when harassed.
The PCs have, in fact, each narrowly survived an encounter with a team of Pranddishaws. The universe has sealed them off, cutting their ties with their former lives. Restoring those contacts, and finding the cause of their severing, becomes the principal goal of the campaign.
If there’s a magical subculture or occult underground, the PCs have ample reason to join it.
Like a Garbage Disposal
Some agency or entity, either the creator of the Pranddishaws or simply a nearby power with enough mojo to protect itself from them, can use the Pranddishaws as a sink. Enemies are sent to their neighborhood, never to be heard from or thought of again. No further cleanup is needed, either; the Pranddishaws take care of that on their own. A cabal able to manipulate the Pranddishaws into actively working against its enemies could be transformed from minor to major power overnight, as all their rivals fade away. PCs investigating this meteoric rise find a quiet suburban home at its center…
Discontent to Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
The only member of the family still interested in the tripartite mystery, Rose Pranddishaw eventually hits on the idea of hiring professional occult investigators (assuming the PCs are professional occult investigators). Assuming they survive the initial interview ("Pay you?" the assembled Pranddishaws chorused. "Why pay you when it’s so much simpler to rip your hearts from your chest cavities and eat them?") the PCs certainly have their work cut out for them.
Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere stars with a man whose ties to the world are severed by a supernatural agency, not unlike Caius Pranddishaw’s baseball bat.
Helen Cresswell’s Bagthorpe series (Ordinary Jack, Absolute Zero, et cetera) are a charming set of juvenile novels about an extremely eccentric family, albeit one that is not composed of serial killers.
Much of the work of poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) is available online at www.robertburns.org.