This is a highly adaptable role-playing scenario that is suitable for 2 or more players. The game is suitable for players of any level without modifying it and is a great one off adventure where players have to use detective skills to solve a larger abstract mystery.
Players are walking along and suddenly fall down a pit and land in a symmetrical circular room with corridors leading off in 3 directions. Attached to each of the walls between the corridors are ropes firmly fastened to the walls.
This game only works if there’s at least one mage or other spell-caster in the party. If they try any magic then they’ll find it has the opposite effect and works at half power (don’t explicitly tell them this though, they have to work it out for themselves, that’s the fun!). Armour and weapons similarly have the same effect, so a +2 sword will be -1.
Be imaginitative, if a player casts a magic hand, it will instead create a rather wimpy magic foot, for example. Players might not notice anything at all at this stage, unless they have a ‘see in the dark’ ability or some other continuous magic item or spell on them, in which case mention that the mage suddenly finds him or herself in pitch blackness (for example).
The corridors each lead to a circular room and they then loop round to join each other, with an extra room in the middle, creating 6 rooms in total. Even though it’s a very small ‘dungeon’ for want of a better word, I still normally find that the game nicely fills one role-playing session.
In the 6 rooms there are more ropes hanging all over the place and I normally put:
- A wizard (who if there are other magic users will recognise that he’s casting e.g. a fire ball, but will instead create a block of ice, this helps players realise what’s going on).
- A room full of small, sharp sticks.
- Some kind of plant with lots of tentacles that attacks.
- A room with skeletons seated on an old decaying sofa.
- A gold statue that attacks (if killed, players keep the statue, which is worth 500 gold, or an appropriate amount depending on their level).
- A room with a hermit who has apparently been living off rats and has been trapped here for ages. This room has a doorway which is the only exit leading out of the dungeon, except the hole they originally fell through (which they probably can’t reach as their magic won’t work properly), however if players enter the doorway, then a strong magical force pushes them back into the dungeon.
In 3 of the rooms players find 3 old rusty levers (shown by the grey dots below), each embedded in differently shaped grooves, as pictured below.
There’s a metal wedge hammered into each of the L’s just below the lever, but players can remove it if they really try.
The levers don’t move unless players each take one of the levers in the three different rooms where they are and move them simultaneously (by this point they’ll have dealt with most of the encounters, so there’s not the usual problem of splitting up a group in a role-playing game).
The levers respectively control Magic, Life and Gravity.
If players move the lever down to the left-hand side of the M, then magic has the opposite effect at full-power.
In the center of the M, magic doesn’t work at all.
At the top-right of the M, magic is normal at half normal power.
At the bottom-right of the M, magic is normal at full power.
As players move the M, if they are wearing any magic armour, invisibility cloaks, etc. describe the gradual change in their experience.
If players remove the wedges and move the L’s then they will find themselves getting weaker and weaker. At the bottom of the L, players are very weak and can’t attack, but can still move at 1/10 their normal speed and the skeletons will come to life and try to get to the levers (the skeletons are twice as strong as the players). In the unlikely event that players get this far and the skeletons move the lever to the right, the players will all die and the skeletons will become full power as the L is moved to the right.
If this happens, have the players wake up weeks or years later when the skeletons reset the levers in the future.
If players move the lever around the curve of the G then gravity starts to go more and more horizontally around the rooms and gradually gets faster and faster until it is incredibly fast. The sharp sticks in one of the rooms will then start to whizz round and round the outer rooms of the dungeon and players will take 1d6 damage per round unless they reset the levers (which is also tricky as they’ll now be being pulled round the dungeon too).
If players move the lever up to the middle right of the G, gravity become zero and it’s like being in space.
If players then move the lever further to the center of the G, then gravity becomes the opposite of normal and players move to the ceiling.
Escaping the Dungeon
Players can escape the dungeon either by cancelling magic and simply walking out the door in the room where the hermit is (there will be no force pushing them back) or by resetting magic to normal and walking out the door, where they will instead be pulled strongly forward and race through a corridor before being thrown outwards (perhaps into the middle of their next adventure or a river).
Alternatively players can change gravity and leave through the hole they entered (if you allow this option).