This dungeonlet contains a number of signs showing riddles. They are included in the text, but are also available here in a larger form, so that you can cut them out and present them to the players.
Heavy-flagged floor, loads of burning-oil sconces. 30' diameter (inner wall) circular corridor, 10' wide. Delvers enter through elevator door that seals and disappears behind them. There are five sets of double doors around outer wall, equispaced, with a large arrow painted black between each set and the next - all pointing anti-clockwise. There is no 'start point' evident. To the south, a huge iron panel, without hinges or handle, is set into inner wall; 10' square. A panel of lettered lumps - like typewriter keys - is on the wall to the left of this 'door'. There is also a rectangular panel above that, a plaque, but it is blank. Anybody searching the corridor may, on a L2SR on IQ, notice a gentle camber down and in towards the iron panel.
Note that the corridor is set 1 foot lower than the floors of the rooms. Each room is circular, about 20' in diameter. The inhabitants of the rooms will troop around after the delvers once visited, aiming to return to their homes through the iron panel. (As if by magic.)
(Step up, remember.) A set of [meteoric iron] bars, 6" apart, runs across the middle of this room. (These negate levels 1-3 magic in this room.) A gate in the middle is held closed with a massive bolt 3' long, but nothing seems to lock the bolt itself in position. Nonetheless, neither brute force nor magic seems able to move it. A weigh-pan a foot in diameter hangs from the handle end of the bolt. Behind the bars is a smelly elephant in a bowler hat - clearly an eccentric elephant, or perhaps an executive elephant. It stands lolling its trunk and staring blearily at the delvers. On the back wall is a sign (see right).
Sign on Wall
The bolt won't move
When the weigh-pan has been loaded with 3 or more items beginning with 'e', the bolt slides magically aside and the elephant tootles out. In a display of gratitude it sneezes out (from its treasure trunk) a small ivory netsuke (carving) of itself. This little gewgaw (once the mucus has been wiped off) remembers everything that happens around it and can 'replay' sounds and conversations on request (though it is in no way sentient - merely a versatile recorder).
The gate swings shut as soon as the elephant leaves and the bolt slides shut once more. If the 'e' items have not been retrieved by the time the bolt stops, they disappear forever.
The elephant lumbers around after the delvers, politely. Should the occasion arise, he has an MR of 500 (big tusks) - but he's a big pussycat really.
An infant imp named Inigo sits on a bunch of cushions playing with his building bricks. He is indigo in colour, with bright green horns, and bright blue breeches, and is no more than 18" tall. He is attempting to build a tower with the bricks, but they keep falling inside each other. Any character who makes an L4SR on IQ will realise this is impossible and faze (see box right). As soon as someone speaks, Inigo will notice the party, pack up his bricks inside each other (L3SR on IQ...) and skip over to hold hands with the delver with the highest CHR. "Are we going now, Mummy?" he chirps happily.
The building bricks
These are four-dimensional cubes that are all the same size and can all be placed inside any one of them. Watching this boggles the mind, especially of those bright enough to realise it can't happen. Generally, after one minute of watching, a person must fail a L4SR on IQ or be fazed. The level drops by one each minute. A fazed person is effectively Dum-Dummed for 10 to the power D6 seconds (10, 100, 1000...) - not incapacitated, but pretty much unthinking. During this time, IQ is 3 and DEX and CHR are halved. The simple expedient of not looking at the bricks safeguards a person from the effect, but enemies and the unwary will naturally be curious.
If, on the other hand, the delvers watch him play in silence for a while, the SR is repeated each minute, with the level reducing by one each time...
A search among the cushions will, on a L2SR on LK, upturn Inigo's neglected 'Harse & Cort' (as he calls it), a peculiar wind-up toy in which the horse walks towards the cart and the cart's wheels turn towards the horse, yet neither of them moves. It's useless, but may be sold for 500GP to any rich city wizard, as this is just the kind of thing they like to have on their mantlepiece. Any delver examining it too closely will suffer the same effect as with the bricks, starting at L4. Inigo's bored with it.
Unlike the other creatures, Inigo will attach himself to his delver forever. Being an infant and an imp, it will be 40,000 years before he grows up. He is affected by magic only if he wants to be and can cast all spells in the rulebook - but doesn't. The only time he ever uses magic is when in a tantrum - like when somebody tries to get rid of him or make him do something other than play with his bricks. He thinks of it like throwing his shit about - something you would do only as a very last resort. Human perils don't concern him much (he just wants to tag along for fun wiv his 'mum'), but he might cast to save his mummy's life (only). Teleporting instinctively away from danger costs him 0 ST as it's in his nature; consequently, he's effectively immune to physical attacks too.
As soon as the delvers enter, Urnie, a unicorn with a silly straw hat and a goofy grin, throws down his 'U'spaper, jumps up out of his deckchair, hops onto a unicycle and begins to play a ukelele. There's a sign on an easel by the door (see right) with a hat on the floor beside it. The floor of the room is mainly sand, with a pool at one side and a cheerful seaside promenade painted on the wall. The unicorn also sings - "With me little ukelele in me 'and" - and juggles underwear - not bad for a mythological hoofed mammal!
Sign on Wall
UUife, Uncle und four urchins tu suppurt!
Rides alung beech:- 5GP
A delver opting for the ride will be obliged to climb aboard the unicorn, who will then struggle onto the back of the unicycle and pedal to the far wall and back. A L3SR on DEX is required, to hold on (unless a 'vurgin'). If the delver falls off, he'll have to walk back. Otherwise, Urnie announces as he rides that touching the horn for so long allows him to make one wish - in 10 real-time seconds! If it's ungrantable, the horn will do what it can - no rephrasing allowed. Afterwards, he is presented with a blotchy certificate proving he has ridden Urnie the Unicycling Unicorn, which, when credibility is at issue, may be used to lower by 2 the level of CHR saving rolls. The delver will also be able to charm any other unicorns he meets, as a result of having held the horn.
Urnie will follow the delvers around on his unicycle as they investigate the other rooms.
Delvers come into a room floored with sand. There's a pile of twigs at one side that's a bit smelly and a sampler over it (see right). There are also three red, lidded buckets by the door, labelled 'EMERGENCY', all empty. (In a pinch, these 3 Emergency buckets may be used as 'e' objects in the 'e' room.) There seems to be nothing else.
Sign on Wall
What you don't know
When a combat turn of searching has passed, first delver making L6SR on IQ spots a vague tripod in one corner - but dismisses it as unimportant. After each combat turn, SR reduces by one level - and by one more for delver(s) who made earlier one(s). When someone has made 3 SRs, s/he notices - possibly by walking into it - that there is an ostrich at one side with its head in the sand. Discovered, it runs about, flustered and squawking.
This is classy sand. You can't see them really does mean they can't see you, if your head's in this stuff. Nobody can see you by any means until they've made 3 successful IQ SRs, 1 per combat turn of searching, at reducing levels starting at 6. Even if they bump into you before then, their mind will blank you out. Once you've been pointed out, though, the spell is broken. The buckets mean you can take some of this valuable stuff with you.
The ostrich remains flustered as it gallops around the corridor outside.
The room is divided across the middle by a glass wall, behind which teem tens of thousands of big black ants: all over the floor, the walls, the glass, the ceiling... In the middle of them, 6' from the glass, is a 3' plinth with an adamantine apple upon it (also teeming). This side of the glass is a large hairy anteater, sniffing around at the edge of the glass. When the delvers enter he lopes over and starts rudely sniffing them all over for ants. When his intrusive scrutinies have revealed no joy, he will return to the glass and continue sniffing. A sign on the wall warns of the ants' poison (see right).
Sign on Wall
Enjoy the frantic antics of the ants
Also here are two lengths of drainpipe, one wider than the other, both about 8' in length, and a 12' plank. Scored onto the glass are three circles, all wider than the drainpipes, in an inverted equilateral triangle 2' on a side, the centre point being about 5' off the floor. These circles may be punched out, but not without releasing thousands of critters. There is also a smelly rug 5' in diameter - the anteater sleeps on it.
All this is just so much junk. The correct way to deal with this room is to smash the glass, leave, close the door and come back in an hour or two, to be greeted with an anteater so stuffed it can barely roll, let alone stand. The ants aren't poisonous anyway - that's why there's no antidote.
The adamantine apple is magical, of course. One bite will make you invulnerable to all physical damage for a combat turn. There are twenty bites to be had.
The Iron Panel
Only when an imp, an elephant, an ostrich, an anteater and a unicorn are present in the corridor will the plaque beside the panel show its riddle (see right).
Riddle on Plaque
There have been enough alphabetic hints throughout, but should the delvers still be unable to crack it, Inigo may make useful and confusing comments ("I came from up there, E came from there, U came from over there" - etc). The verbs simply want shifting in cyclical sequence as shown by the arrows on the walls: a -> o -> u -> i -> e -> a. This yields: "When the hosting hobbit's name/Is Truly Spelt/This Iron Portal's door/Shall surely melt." Hence, the delvers need only type in 'Quikpiss'; whereupon the metal glows red, heat beats off in waves, the animals wisely nip back into their rooms, the metal turns white, and any delver daft enough to still be in the corridor will very shortly be showered in molten iron as the door explodes. Survival rating: not good. After the first violence, the liquid metal pours down a huge plughole beneath where the door was (hence the gently sloping floor), but it will be a few minutes before it's safe to tread the corridor again. Delvers will then be able to enter the...
In which, on buffet tables, are arrayed:
|Buzz-saw Cuts non-magical materials @ 6" depth x 10' length per minute - does not break material up like a pick-axe; min 5 each time used or battery dead - useless.||B||Z||Zither L12SR on DEX to play. Penetrating twangs inflict 30D6 per round on all who hear it (one set fiddly earplugs supplied, the only set that will work). Fail on SR means earplugs fell out... Effective range ~50'.|
|Crate 2' cube on wheels with lead; any amount of items that will fit in individually will somehow fit in together; weighs 500WU - laden or not; if min 5 failed, item looked for has disappeared.||C||Y||Yarn Ball thereof. Unbreakable; can be cut only with the small pair of scissors tucked therein (which will cut nothing else).|
|Die D6; call a number and roll it; if match, subtract from 10 and get that many PA points; otherwise, lose number rolled.||D||X||X-file Thick folder of documents. There is a 50% chance that these documents will contain the answer to any puzzle or riddle the bearer encounters, but leafing through them takes D6 hours each time.|
|Flamethrower ST 15, DEX 15, range 15 yds; same effect as Blasting Power.||F||W||Wings Small feathered pair, may be clipped to any weapon to enable it to fight independently; L3SR on DEX to remove (may try once per round) or weapon just keeps on fighting whoever's not dead.|
|Glue 5 applications; will stick anything to anything instantly, including living tissue; can be unstuck with oil of cloves.||G||V||Vein From a basilisk - 3 doses of lethal poison may be squeezed out of it (at arm's length with thick gloves on); each will petrify any foe, even if only their weapon comes in contact with it (ie. hits not needed).|
|Hat Fetching pink jobbie with little yellow flowers; wearer is immune to petrification and makes a powerful fashion statement.||H||T||Trowel Any plant/seed/sapling/bulb placed in a hole dug with this trowel will attain its full growth in one day, growing normally from then on.|
|Jelly-mould If placed in water, whole lot jellifies; not stiff enough to walk in, but buggers up sharks something rotten; reliquifies after one hour.||J||S||Sandwich Everlasting, but it's spam.|
|Kohl Black make-up for eyes; 3 applications; wearer can see in dark, see invisible things, distinguish illusion from reality; lasts one hour.||K||R||Rasp Applying this in a quick sweep to the edge of a magical blade (as in a parry) will blunt the blade to 3 dice + 0; the rasp, however, will gain the rest of the sword's dice + adds - for only one combat turn.|
|Mat WELCOME written on it; may be used once; place in doorway; anyone passing over it can't help but be friendly towards occupants of room beyond.||M||Q||Quill The oath signed with this quill (before it disappears) will come true, whether the parties involved want it to or not. Gods are involved.|
|Nail Whatever this is hammered into will split in half. (DON'T use in the ground!)||N||P||Pole 14' long. Not magical. Not flexible. Not useful.|
Each time an item is picked up from the tabletop, the other item on the same row disappears and won't come back, and after 6 have been picked up all the remaining ones disappear. (NB. There is no item for the letter 'L'. Don't worry about it. The letters are only there for reference anyway.) Apart from Inigo, the animals disappear (home) as they step through the door. There is an exit to the elevator at the far side of the room.
|Introduction||Cheap, contrived set-up to get the players going.|
|2. The Pharaoh's Tomb||A trip to Egypt and the hassle of getting out of a pyramid. (Featuring a toffee troll.)|
|3. The Kare Bears Dungeon||A sickly-sweet theme park in which all is not as it seems.|
|4. The Dungeon With No Name||High-stakes shoot-out in the Wild West, with Flint Eastwood, Duck Halliday, etc.|
|5. The Dungeon's Dungeon||What other dungeons have nightmares about. An unavoidable sequence of traps and obstacles.|
Updated 16/06/99 by Jason.