I ran this (or something very much like this) adventure about 22 years ago and the group that did it had a great time until a fire got out of control and consumed them faster than they could run from it. It's outside the box and not normal - at least for the party. Getting shrunk down to 1/24th size and dealing with the much smaller world that is in front of them.
The castle exploration is not feasible - we spent 3+ hours to take care of 1/3rd the main entrance room/parlor and didn't make any headway. What the group needs to do is find a way to get "big" first and then take care of the castle and eventually the vault.
And to do that they need to find the artifact that fired off at them and take control of it (even if just temporarily). I have a few road blocks in their way though and they will need to bring their "A" game to get past the final hurdle(s) if they expect to prevail.
Write up follows:
To our new size, the crawl under the 8’ wide and roughly foot and a half tall space was numbing. We emerged onto a large stone rough platform covered with some sort of thick sand-like grit. There was a strange ambient light coming from the east and west, but we were in a gloom broken only by our lanterns. We did light a torch or two, but the fire was strange and rounded, not flickering. It did illuminate the area for us and we just felt…small.
After discussing it for a bit, we wanted to stay near the wall if at all possible, so we lined ourselves up into a square and proceeded to head west (right) for the time being. We travelled some 100’ or so (our relative size that is) until we noted a break in the stone ahead. It dropped off and curved around to the north until it was lost in the gloom. So we approached carefully and looked down at the edge.
18’ from the crumbled rounded stone edge down to the next platform of stone below. A thick layer of gauzy dust like balls and mounds of residue filled the base of the stone cliff. And to our eyes, it moved slightly. So we attached the found grapple to a length of rope and let it drop to the airy dirt to disturb anything hiding within.
And it emerged. Grey in color, plated and segmented, perhaps two feet or so long and with a pair of wavering antenna that twitched around with started jerking motions. From our vantage we had to look at it for length of time before someone realized it was a silverfish. To our normal size, a non-consequential bit of vermin one would find in a closet or musty carpeted room. But now? An unknown and large creature we wanted to avoid.
So we made noise and startled the other silverfish from the dust and fibers, watching as they crawled forward to the edge of the NEXT cliff (step?) and pass over it heading down and out of sight. We took out an iron spike and drove it into the top of the current step (it echoed strangely and without a long ringing vibration) and then one by one, ferried our way down. Climbing was easier for some reason, and there was suspicion that we could both jump further and fall farther that we would be able to if we were normal size.
When it came time to getting the 4 dogs down, we instead rigged up a stretched blanket to catch them, leaving Avidius and Tranis still upstairs to gently toss the animals down. The party caught them one after the other until just the ranger and thief were left. The thought was to toss Tranis and then Avidius would climb down, but they didn’t account for how far Tranis would go (both up and out) and had to scramble to catch him. As for the climb down, Avidius did slip, but again, the pains received were minimal at best.
We navigated to the other step and looked out on the floor of the castle – heading off in all directions into the darkness. The base of this step had a number of silverfish milling about again and we startled them away from the landing. However before we climbed down we noted that they began to leave the area and head enmass towards the walls and some cracks there. Before they all escaped, a skink (at 10+ long and powerfully fast) charged out of the gloom and snatched up a silverfish before running away.
Ok – quiet and safe.
We climbed down and drew ourselves back into a square formation. We didn’t hug the wall since we know there were the odd long cable like spider webs hanging down, but we did stay together as we travelled off to the west and tried to get some feel for the size of the room and where to go next.
There was a glow from ahead and some slashing beams of daylight were coming in and illuminated the floor away from the wall. It was a shuttered window and we decided to head away from the wall and head towards the beam of light where it struck the floor. We came to an area where there was a column heading up to the ceiling over 50’ in diameter (to us) and rising to god knows how high. We used a mirror and flashed the sun light beam everywhere to get a feel for the size of the chamber. We did find the far western wall at some point and the column was we guessed over 200’ tall. However the chamber was larger than our mirror could illuminate and we did not know what to do. We did come across a torch sconce on the wall though and although it was some serious height off the ground, we figured we could try to climb the wall and light it to illuminate the chamber.
So we all headed back to the wall and gave Avidius the tools he would need to climb as well a torch to light the…real full size torch. So he climbed, slowly and with great care, until he eventually made it to the base of the torch in the sconce. Then he climbed onto the sconce and took a breather before daring to walk OUT from the wall along the sconce support beam to the torch itself. Once there, he scaled the wooden structure until he was on the charred and sooty 7’ wide platform. There were webs here, a few of them, so he didn’t want to spend too much time. So he lit his tinderbox, then the torch he had, then he placed the glowing ball of fire on the torch he was standing on and made sure it was caught before coming to the edge of the torch and jumping off to be caught by the party and the stretched out blanket below (again, taking only minimal damage thanks to our size and lightness).
After this, the torch far overhead burst into light and illuminated a portion of the great entry hall we were in. There WAS a door along the western wall and it had a step in front of it. A few tapestries were on the wall, old and worn. But nearer the ceiling were webs, big 100+ diameter hanging cable like webs. And we opted to not go there if we could help it.
Marcus was getting a headache and we hoped to try and find out where the “whatever” was the magicked us small. So he took out his rod of dispel magic and held it aloft, firing a bolt upward. He hoped it would disrupt whatever had enchanted us, but the bolt behaved strangely, it seemed to be pulled UP from the rod, stretch impossibly long, then it arced toward the east and bent before firing away and passing through the ceiling above. What the hell? We discussed it and came to the conclusion that something VERY magical was above us (2nd floor) and was a bit to the east of where we were standing. Maybe the thing that shrunk us? Make us grow? Instead of wandering the castle at our size, we decided to find the whatever it was and reverse the curse.
We needed to know where it was sort of overhead so we were going to head back east across the room, try to find another torch on the wall on that side of the room, get an idea how big the chamber might be, and then fire off another bolt from Marcus’ wand.
It was when we were passing the step we had come down originally that we heard something in the dark and the silverfish in the area departed. We guessed skinks, based upon the scratching dragging sound (the skinks hang low to the ground and their guts drag when they are stalking). Flimflam fired off a speak with animal spell and spoke to one of them that was creeping closer. And closer. There were 7 of them and we found ourselves encircled, back towards the steps. As we were shuffling positon one of them darted forward and went to snatch and grab one of us – Tranis!
The ranger was hit like from a bull and he held on, torn off his feet as the skink then knocked down other party members in its mad dash to take its prize away. We fired and stabbed and shot and made all sorts of noises and assaults happen, scaring away a few of the skinks but 3 of them did come forward to join the attack. Flimflam managed to get one of them charmed and it distracted a second so we only to fight the one against Tranis and the 2nd one that barreled into the party.
Our forces were split on two fronts but we pressed the attack on the skink holding Tranis first, inspiring the lizard to let our ranger go and then finishing it off before it could make its escape. The second skink required less effort and was swiftly surrounded by our group, Avidius and Viridia making attempts at backstabbing the distracted reptile as it was being assaulted by us.
From here we then turned our attention to the last skink that our “charmed” one was fighting until it too went down and we had a chance to rest. Healing was dispensed (a little on our wounded skink) but we started talking – this room was huge, and according to our skink, there were most likely LOTS of them in the area. We had to get out of here and get somewhere else. Where were we to go? Upstairs to the “magic” place and break the curse? What about other denizens in here? And we still didn’t know how big the place was.
We continued on until we arrived at where we assumed the other full sized torch would be and then had Flimflam arrange a rope harness of some sort for the skink. He held on and coaxed it up the wall. It was jarring and rough, mixed with bursts of speed and sudden stops. There was also a slip and fall at one point, some jarring and aching, but eventually the skink and gnome made it to the top. From here they a good look at the area above – dismayed to see spiderwebs her, big ones as made by orb spiders – nothing we want to face at our current size. The torch was lit and skink and gnome jumped off and were caught back on the ground (again, with minimal falling damage).
We wandered back to the steps area and discussed our options – the room on the east side matched the room on the west side – and with the torch lit we had Marcus fire off another blast from his wand – and the shaft of dispelling was sucked straight up to an area sort of over the front door. So we knew we had to go upstairs, and it would have to be over this room. Do we climb the walls and look for cracks? Go the long way around and find stairs?
We were being watched – 6 spiders (orb) had come down and were over the lintel of the foyer door looking at us. A speak with animals did not have them talk back, but they did eventually go back up to their webs and disappear into the ceiling. Ok – climbing from here wasn’t going to work. We were going to have to climb and find stairs. We decided on the western door and then talked about where we were going to camp out. It was approaching 7 and we were getting hungry and tired from our activity. The thought was to climb back up and sleep in the coat room – but figured it would be crawling. And there were cockroaches in the foyer so that was a no.
We traveled to the western door, dodged some silverfish in the area (talking to them revealed how cowlike and slow they actually were) and were checking out the door there (after climbing up) when we figured we would need some wood for a fire. So we were hacking splinters off the bottom of the door and our banging attracted the attention…of a mouse!
It was curious about us and another speak with animals had us chatting with it. It was willing to take us to see the den mother, there WAS a cat wandering the castle on and off (usually down my the laundry room – far from here) and there was a spider or some sort on the second floor the mouse referred to as “The King of the Web”. Se we all gathered at the western door at 7:15 and proceeded to crawl underneath it to enter the hallway and hopefully not attract the attention of the cat that might or might not be wandering the area at some point.